After the ambulance packaged me up and took me to the hospital. I remember lying on the stretcher in the emergency room thinking to myself over and over again how everything that I worked my entire life floor vanished in a fucking second, and I had no one to blame but myself. I told myself, if I would have just ran the bases the right way; the way my father taught me to, that I wouldn’t be here right now. I remember hating myself and God for allowing this to happen to me.
After a few moments alone in the room, my girlfriend walked in. I could tell that she was crying, but she tried not to show it. She walked up and tried to kiss me, but I turned away. So she just took my hand and told me how proud she was of me for winning the game for the team and then she started to tell me that everything was going to be ok, but I cut her off. I pulled my hand back and told her “Shut the fuck up, everything is not going to be ok”. She tried to take my hand again but I wouldn’t let her. Then she started to say something but I yelled, “are you fucking deaf or just stupid, didn’t I just tell you to shut up”. She tried to talk again, so I grabbed her hand and yelled “I’m through, so we’re through”. Then I told her “So get the fuck out and don’t come back”. She started to cry, and stepped back. She didn’t say anything; she just looked at me for a few seconds and walked out the doors, and that was the last time I ever saw her. To this day the look on her face when she walked out the door for the last time haunts me.
About an hour later, the doctor, my parents and Coach entered the room. After a few moments of silence, the doctor started to speak. "Good evening Jim, I'm Dr. Madison one of the orthopedic surgeons here, how are you feeling?" I paused for a second or too, just looking at him; then said "just fucking peachy Doc, thought I would wake up this morning and just fuck up my entire life today. How are you?” Mom raised her head wiped the tears from her eyes and said "Jim, stop being an ass, he is just trying to help." I looked up and just said, "Yes ma'am, sorry Doc”. After a few moments of hearing the Doc talk a lot of medical mumbo jumbo shit; I could tell that he was trying to beat around the bush so I interrupted. "Just spit it the out Doc. How bad is it, can I play again?"
He looked down and the chart for a second and then our eyes locked. "I'm not going to lie to you son, its bad. You completely tore the ACL and MCL, as well as your medial Mencius" said the Doc. Once again silence filled the room. Mom looked at me with tears rolling down her face and said nothing. Dad just starred at the floor for a moment then looked up at the Doc and said, "What's the plan to get my boy back on the field?" Once again the Doc looked at this chart then said "He is going to need surgery to repair the damage, once.....
I looked up at him and interrupted, "Then I can play again".
"It's not that simple Jim, said Dr. Madison. There is a lot of swelling that has to get better before we can operate, and after the surgery you'll have a long and tough rehab before you will be able to walk right again. It may be a year or so before you will be ready to play ball again. Hell even then there is no guarantee that you will ever be what you were before the injury."
Once again there was silence in the room, except for Mom crying in the background. I even started to feel my eyes water up so I lowered my head so my dad couldn’t see me cry. After a few moments, Dr. Madison patted me on the shoulder and said, "Son, I know that this is hard right now, but we are going to do everything we can to get you back to full form. I promise." Then he left the room.
The room was quite as a church. I just sat there in the bed with my parents, and Coach in the room. No one spoke and I think even if they wanted to they wouldn’t know what to say. Then it happened. I broke down. I didn’t care who saw it. I raised my head and just said, "It's over. Everything is gone". Every fucking thing that I worked so hard for is gone; the big leagues, the money, everything gone. Don't say that son, said Coach. You, can come back from this, I know you can.
I just looked at him and laughed aloud. Really Coach are you fucking serious? Where are the scouts, uh? Are they here? Are they sitting in the damn waiting room with a goddamn contract and pin in there fucking hands? If so bring them in, let get the deal done right fucking now! But wait, they aren’t here. Rather they are talking to the fuck head that didn’t end his career before it even started and telling their bosses about how I’m done forever.
Son, that doesn't matter, said my Dad. You can prove them all wrong.
I turn my head and looked my Dad right in the eye and said, “Do you really believe that Dad?” “Yes son, I do”, said Dad. I just looked down and after a few seconds of me grinding my teeth. I looked back up at my father like I have never done before and said. "Well if you think that Dad, then you are just fucking retarded. You just don't come back from this. My leg is distorted and I won't ever be the same."
Dad just stood there in shock for a second then said, “Now you listen to me son, who do you think you are talking...........”
I interrupted, who do I think I am, I the guy who is hurt and just lost my future, not to mention millions of fucking dollars. Who the fuck do you think you are? You don't know jack shit about baseball do you Dad? So please leave me the hell alone and quit telling me that everything will be all right and just get the fuck out.”
“But Son...........,” said Coach.
But nothing Coach, I’m fucking done, now please leave me alone for Christ sake!
Coach just lowered his head and started to walk towards the door. Right before he got to the door he stopped, raised his head and said without facing me “That’s not the man that I know sitting there in that damn bed. So I guess your right son, maybe the Jim that I coached his whole life is gone”. Then he walked out.
I just lay there, looking at the celling for a while when I heard the door open. I closed my eyes and said, “I told you all to leave me the fuck alone”. There was silence for a second or two then I strangers voice said, “Son you didn’t tell me shit”.
I opened my eyes to see who it was and there stood an older man, but not too old; around his mid to late 40s. He was wearing a Thompson State polo shirt and khaki pants. He didn’t speak just walked over to the chair at the foot of the bed and sat down. He pulled out a note book and opened it.
“475 batting average, 23 home runs, 82 RBIs and 1 big fuck-up”, said the man. I just looked at him for a moment then said “who are you, and why are you here?”
The man stood up and said “sorry for not introducing myself earlier. I was but I kind of got interrupted. My name is Coach Steve Fisher. I am the head baseball Coach for Thompson State University.”
After a tense moment of silence, I asked “Sir, why are you here? Didn’t you see what happened?” He just answered “Yep, that’s why when I read your stats for this year I added the 1 big fuck-up”. He continued, “Son I’m here because I have been watching you for years now and I want you to come play for me at T State. I know that you are hurt, but I know that you can recover and still be one hell of a player”.
He started to say something else, when I interrupted him, “Sir, Thank you for coming, but the Docs said that it will be at least a year before I can play again, and not to mention if I did play again why would I want to play for a such a small school like T State”?
Coach just stood up and walked towards the door and opened it. Then he said very loudly, “any other coaches or scouts out there? If you are here please come in the room”. Then he shut the door and looked over to me. “Son, there isn’t anyone else here. I am your one shot to get back on the field. The Yankees aren’t here, the big schools aren’t here. They all left as soon as you hit the ground.” said the Coach.
The room went quiet. I remember sitting there and without realizing crying. Coach Fisher walked over and put his hand on my shoulder and said, “Son, I know it’s hard right now. I’ve been there, but I came back and I know you can too. Fuck son, if I didn’t think so I wouldn’t have drove all damn night to get here. I wasn’t at the game son. I didn’t get in the car until I heard that you were hurt. I believe in you.”
I reached over and grabbed his hand and said, “Do you really think I can play again?” He just said, “Hell yeah I do and sooner than a fucking year. So what do you say? Are you going to get off you sorry ass and come play for me or sit here and feel sorry for yourself? The ball is in your court son.”
I didn’t even have to think about it. I just pushed
the nurse button and when she entered I told her to get my parents and that goddamn doctor. When they entered I looked the Doc directly in the eyes and said, “1 year, fuck that. I’m going to do it in 6 months. Let’s roll!”