Butterfingers: (n) a clumsy person, especially one who fails to hold a catch

It was a perfect early summer day.

I was of an age when virility still oozed from my being and I was the father of children who were old enough that playing with them was fun.

We had joined with a couple of other families to go to the park. We did races, played some basketball and even tried some silly little mind twister games.

Allowing for a bit of humility, I dominated in every category. My kids were convinced that their dad had skipped the entire step of posing as Clark Kent, and had merely exposed himself as Superman.

Then someone suggested baseball.

I hate baseball. I don’t like to watch it; I don’t like to play it. I could probably go into vivid detail about how the game moves at such a snail’s pace that your muscles have time to relax, only to be alarmed once again with the arrival of activity.

So I placed myself in the position of pitching the softball. Within eight or nine throws, I was pretty proficient. I batted pretty well, too–even though I had a tendency to over-swing at the ball, grounding out. But I picked up a couple of singles and one double. It looked like I was going to survive the horror of the great American sport with my “Man of Steel” profile intact.

Then here comes kryptonite. Yes–the stuff that turns Superman into a jellyfish.

It was the last pitch of the game. One batter left. And it was made even easier, because the young lady hit the ball straight up in the air in front of the plate.

All I had to do was step forward four paces and catch it.

I heard my family cheering in the background as the ball–now in slow motion–came tumbling toward my grasp.

In that flash, self-doubt entered my mind.

Should I catch it with my hands, or should I let it come into the bread basket of my chest and cupped arms?

I chose poorly.

As the ball descended, I cupped my hands against my chest to cradle it. It hit me just below the neck and bounced to the ground as the runner from third base scored and the other team won the game.

I received no pity from my children.

They did not say, “Nice try, Dad” or “It could have happened to anyone.”

Matter of fact, on the drive home I could have sworn I heard my youngest mutter, “Butterfingers.”


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