A lifetime ago when I played baseball, my specialty was defense. Being a catcher, one of my favorite things to do was to catch for the pitchers that could throw the knuckler. You don't really catch knuckeballs, at best you stop them. Keeping the ball in front of you is the best you can do.
Bob Uecker said, "I always thought the knuckleball was the easiest pitch to catch. Wait'll it stops rolling, then go to the backstop and pick it up." ―
The beauty of a knuckleball is that they move. When thrown right, they move a lot. In any and every direction. They are unpredictable and uncontrollable.
It's been years since I had given any thought to the knuckelball. Until this week.
I find myself overwhelmed. My mind so preoccupied with with something I have no control over that it's consuming me.
I find myself looking for distractions. Anything I can find to do or think about, to take my thoughts away. It's difficult. The not knowing.
Soon I find that my mind has gone back to the what if''s. My eyes well up with tears. My chest grows tight. My life, my dreams, my fears, my hopes, all flashing before me. I shake my head, wipe my eyes and force my thoughts in another direction. If only for a moment. Plaster on the best fake smile I can and put on a brave face. I tell the voice to shut up. It's nothing.
I can see the same fear in her face. It's the not knowing. She puts on a smile for me but I can see through it. I smile back.
Don't worry baby. Everything will be alright.
I fight back tears, smile and distract us. I don't let her see that I'm afraid. I joke about it. It's how I cope.
For the first time in seven years I lit a cigarette. The rush of tar and nicotine to my system makes my head spin. I wish it's something much stronger. Something, anything, to take the edge off. I've lit several since then.
It's most likely nothing. It could be everything. Uncontrollable and unpredictable.
Things that were important last week seem so trivial today.
It's when you grow complacent, catching fastballs and curves, that you are unprepared for anything else. Then someone throws you a knuckleball...