The Shepard • July 29th, 2018
BROOKLYN – He waved his cheery good-byes to an admiring family, set his weapon of choice on one shoulder, jauntily fixed his cap to a more ponytail-accommodating angle and marched forward. Come what may, the Secret Agent would show himself ready to fight for his squad. He would bring glory to God, Country and Meatball Slingers near and far. He would prove himself deserving of what he knew he already deserved: he would win the red badge of courage attendant with victory at the 2018 Midsummer Showdown.
To be brief, the badge gained had not been the badge sought. But it was red. And gruesome. And I'll be damned if it wasn't scarring: eye-adjactent lacerations and serious hammys were the unforeseen, fateful gain borne of a 100-AB day at the so-called Cathedral.
"What of this place is Cathedral-like?" he wondered, hopping to stop a Magic Man grounder in Game 7 on the day. "Is this what it means to be a man? To avoid near blindness by inches; pitch as clean a game as any meatballer anywhere has ever dare to; hit seven bombs on the day and then -- this? A shell of my former self hopping forth to almost miss stopping a dribbler in my unasked-for, finger-breaking position in left? Is this God's plan for me?"
Halcyon moments wend their ways through this hell. There were the easy swings and wind-carried bombs. The young tattooed women on skateboards, smiling 'neath shades whilst rolling past his outpost. The deep, finger-whistle trill of the Local Boy. Cobra Hai's wondrously diverse clothing iterations and one-handed snags. The 9-run comebacks during the cool morning hours. The bittersweet appreciations for the Surgeon's winning the whole damn thing on his first day back.
These were what to remember, he reflected, limping.
"I was there and I saw it," as he said at the Jay Street Hall for Veterans of York Field Stickball. "I ponytail-sweat my way through the years contained within this day and did something great. But hell if it wasn't enough. So here's a fuck-my-fingers cheers to the deserving winners. To Spades, to Cobra, Magic and Surge. To the twelve men there to fucking see it."
SPADES: The Surgeon, Magic Man and Cobra Hai
CLUBS: Soy Peligroso, Local Boy and Rookie Andreas
HEARTS: The Secret Agent, 8-Ball and The Shepherd
DIAMONDS: The Mechanic, Diamond and Sugar Doll
G1: S 15, C 9
G2: H 18, D 19
G3: H 28, C 4
G4: S 5, D 4
G5: D 1, H 12
G6: S 6, H 7
G7: H 8, S 12
HRs: Surge: 11, Agent: 8, Peligroso: 6, 8-Ball: 4, Rook Andreas: 4, El Wrencher: 2, JC & The SugarDoll 5: 1