Why, I can’t remember anything
to this very day
— the prophet eddie jerome vedder
I always wondered what it would feel like to get sucker punched while running. Until tonight.
I’m running on the lasso loop, a quiet little course around soccer and softball fields. It’s a pleasant evening, cool and quiet. Eddie Vedder is ranting about his mom in my ear buds. Everything feels great.
I am smacked in the side of the head, a sharp blow that leaves me with those little @#!*!!! symbols you see in cartoons floating around in front of me.
Looking down, I see the culprit: a softball. Looking to my right, I see the other culprits: three kids.
Two of them, maybe 8, are wearing gloves. The third is a little older and holding a bat. They’re all staring at me in horror. As it turns out, batting practice toward a 4-foot wall is not ideal.
I stand still for a minute, checking the damage. I think the ball came off my shoulder first before hittingg the side of my head, although I will wait for the missing police body cam video to make a final conclusion. My head is throbbing. I pick up the ball and walk over to them, tossing it back.
ARE YOU OK WE’RE SORRY ARE YOU OK ARE YOU SURE YOU’RE OK? they ask over and over and over. Or maybe I am just hearing echoes.
I assure them I’m fine, but the oldest kid insists on give me an impromptu concussion protocol test. He makes me follow his finger with my eyes as he wags it around. It’s like a DWI test with a 10-year-old cop. Kids watch too much TV. They should get outside and play baseball instead.
They couldn’t be nicer, and I assure them it’s not their fault, even though it is. Mostly it’s because Eddie Vedder’s whining kept me from hearing their warning. And it was nice to relive my childhood days of playing catcher without a mask. Just baseball, I tell them. And we exchange manly man fist bumps before I resume my laps.
How do I realize I’m OK? Because I managed to pause the Garmin before I lost consciousness. Priorities.
Next loop around the course, they’re gone. My headache is not.
The moral: Eddie Vedder is not to be trusted. And if you’re running in a park full of ducks and someone yells DUCK!!!, they might not be talking about wildlife.
Still, in the words of Mr. Vedder, I’m still alive.
shocked that I came back by and there was no crime scene tape