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A Legacy of Diamonds: Part One

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Member Since
Dec 2013
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34

 

A Legacy of Diamonds

Part One

© 2014, Gadi Bossin

[email protected]

Gadi Bossin

P.O. Box 20

Kiryat Bialik, Israel

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ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. This book contains material protected under International and Federal Copyright Laws and Treaties. Any unauthorized reprint or use of this material is prohibited. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without express written permission from the author.

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A LEGACY OF DIAMONDS: PART ONE

 

I’m talking to myself.

 

It’s all part of the game, I say.

 

Bounce back.

 

Get down and set. 

3

That’s right.

 

Now crouch, lean forward and hold your glove at the ready.

 

You’ve been here before.

 

You’ve been playing this game your whole life.

 

You can do this. 

4

Hang in there.

 

Hang in there.

 

Steady.

 

Steady.

5

Moish rocks backward and then goes into his windup.

 

That’s how fast the game moves on.

 

Move on with it, I say to myself.

 

Move on with it.

 

Moish leaps forward off the rubber and delivers his drop pitch.

6

The batter swings and drives the ball on a low line back at Moish. It skips once at his feet, but Moish fields the ball on the short hop, turns toward first base and flips the ball underhand to me for the third out.

 

We trot toward our bench on the third base side.

 

Our guys are disappointed, their heads down and shoulders rounded as they look at their gloves, asking themselves why it always happens this way against Dimona. 

7

We’ve never beaten the team from the Black Hebrews community.

 

Not even once.

 

Everyone’s thinking, We came into the top of the inning leading 4-3, poised to win the game. Now we’re behind, trailing 5-4.

 

If we don’t score now, we lose.

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“It’s okay, Gadi,” Jeremy says to me. “We’ll get those runs back. We can do it.”

 

Jeremy believes. He’s that kind of player. Reminds me of myself when I was his age, twenty-five years ago.

 

Even in his early thirties, he bunts and steals bases and stretches singles into doubles and doubles into triples and plays infield and outfield with relish and inspired abandon.

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“Hey, yeah. Let’s get ’em back,” Allie says.

 

Allie doesn’t share Jeremy’s optimism. He’s not so sure we’re going to score. You can hear it in his voice.

 

And you can hear the dejection in Moish’s tone even as he shouts, “Let’s get two! Let’s win this game!” and claps his hands, staccato-like.

10

Dov, the team cut up, cracks, “It ain’t over till it’s over! Or, . . . till the fat lady sings! Or, . . . hey, when is it over?”

 

We all laugh, a bit ruefully.

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Dimona scored the tying and go-ahead runs on nothing much at all.

 

There was a lead-off bunt single, followed by a walk and then a sacrifice bunt that put runners on second and third with one out.

 

Moish struck out the next batter.

 

Then came the play I was wishing I could have back to do over again.

12

“Sorry about the throw,” Ariel says to me.

 

“I should have had it,” I say. “You did all you could do. You made a good play.”

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I’m running the play over in my head, thinking I should have held onto the ball, telling myself we would have won the game 4-3 if I had.

 

With runners on second and third and two out, the batter topped the ball and it rolled down the third base line, a hard swinging bunt.

 

Ariel hustled in, scooped up the ball with his bare hand and threw to me as he fell off balance.

14

The runner was coming fast.

 

It was the seventeen-year-old speedster who plays shortstop for Dimona.

 

I saw him flying down the line, tried to set myself to glove the ball, but the throw was off target.

 

Instead of coming to me on the infield side of first base where I could see it clearly, the ball tailed off and crossed the base line into foul territory, forcing me to lean directly into the path of the runner.

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What happened next happened all at once and really fast.

 

The runner ran by me just as the ball arrived.

 

While swinging my right shoulder back and away from the base line and twisting to avoid a collision, I took my eye off the ball for a millisecond.

 

That’s all it took.

 

I didn’t glove the ball cleanly, didn’t squeeze it. 

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The ball popped out of my glove and fell at my feet.

 

The runner from third had already scored and the runner from second was bearing down on home plate.

 

I picked up the ball and threw home, but it was too late. The runner slid under the tag.

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That’s what happened.

 

And I couldn’t change it.

 

We were ahead most of the game, and now, going into the bottom of the seventh and final inning, we’re behind.

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The Dimona players and their crowd are celebrating their comeback.

 

The fans, a busload of them, are gospel-rap-cheering as their team goes through its in-between-innings warm-up and Yaron confidently whips his three warm-up pitches at his catcher.

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A loud young woman dressed in bright green African robes and a yellow headdress leads the rhythmic singing and chanting.

 

The stands behind the home plate backstop at the Kibbutz Gezer softball field rock like a church in Harlem on Sunday morning.

 

The players on the field complete their warm-up throws and Yaron holds the ball high above his head.

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“Three up!” he cries. “Three down!” his teammates reply.

 

“Three up!” he repeats. “Three down!” they shout in unison.

 

“Three up!”

 

“Three down!”

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The loud cheerleader and the crowd chant and clap along with the Dimona players, “Three up!” Clap clap. “Three down!” Clap clap.

 

“Three up!” Clap clap. “Three down!” Clap clap.

 

“Three up!” Clap clap. “Three down!” Clap clap.

 

The umpire calls out, “Batter!”

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