Monday, October 05, 2009

The Sensitive Rippp...

It was embarrassing to say the least and really there is nothing else to state. However there is one thing I need to ask and that question is, “How could such a thing have happened?” But I am ahead of the story so allow me start at the beginning.

MacArthur Junior High was a trying experience for me. Everything in life was horrendous and/or terrifying. The school year was 1947/1948. I was 12 years old and a very green 7th grader.  I was one year younger than my classmates due to starting school at five years of age and skipping the second grade due to implementation of the 12th grade system. Keep in mind that by now I was very aware of girls. I felt extremely self-conscious and almost felt guilty because girls were so beautiful. Was I the only one? Did other boys like girls? What was wrong with me? Daily there were surprises in my life of adjustments.

I have explained briefly my situation at that time so you might more easily grasp my feelings of embarrassment that I am going to share.

One day we were having a sort of “field day” at school. I suppose it was a school picnic. All the administrators, teachers and students were outside involved with various activities.
We had picnic lunches provided by the school. South Park Independent School District Superintendent Joe J. Vincent made a highly motivating speech. Prior to educational pursuits, Vincent had been a Colonel in the military. Following his rousing challenges to life, we began our softball game.

The teachers organized two softball teams. They appointed me to be the pitcher for one of the teams. Don’t ask me why…I don’t know why. Each team had girls and boys and we were scheduled to play five innings. There must have been two hundred kids bunched up along the bleachers to watch and cheer.

My team took to the field first. The pitchers were told to throw only slow easy pitches and to let the batters hit the ball. That was a relief to hear because all I could do was to throw slow and easy and anyone should be able to hit my pitches.

The first batter came to the plate. I eased the ball his way. As I released the pitch I felt something rip. Something in my clothes. Every pitch caused whatever was ripping to rip a little bit more.

Remember that there were more than one hundred girls watching from the bleachers and some were on my team. I was very aware of them and also I knew they were watching my every pitch. I began to fear that the ripping I heard and felt might be the seat of my britches. However, during one of the innings while my team was in the dugout, I had opportunity to check. My pants were not ripped at all. Thus the ripping mystery thickened.

Finally in the fourth inning, I stretched really hard to make a nice easy-flowing pitch to the batter. Whatever had been ripping made one final rip and something broke loose. Then I realized in stark horror that it was my underwear. Yes my Fruit-of-the-Loom had ripped apart. Ever so gently the underwear made their way down my right pants’ leg. I kicked my foot a little and the undergarment plopped out of my pants onto the pitcher’s mound. I attempted to act as though nothing had happened. Maybe no one would notice. Wrong. Everybody started laughing. The girls, the boys, the teachers, and even Superintendent Joe J. Vincent. So what did I do? I laughed too but I was so embarrassed.

That day I learned to laugh when life throws you a curve ball.

Winston Hamby


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