Michael stood in left field watching the snack truck parked on the other side of the other team’s dugout. More than anything in the world, at that moment he wanted a box of sour candies.
He was close. The game was almost over. There were just two outs left. He had the required 79 cents.
Michael heard the hollow sound of the bat hitting the ball and noticed for a moment some activity in the infield. He hoped that meant somebody was out. Then he was distracted by a bug crawling along in the short grass.
Another ball was hit. It sailed over the head of the shortstop and into Michael’s area of responsibility. Michael did not detect it as it landed within arm’s reach.
Unfortunately for Michael, he took that exact second to sit down in order to more closely observe the insect. He did not see the ball roll serenely towards the chain-link fence that marked the field’s boundary.
The coach saw him sit down and assumed that Michael had been struck in the head. The game was halted as a group of adults ran onto the field to assess the supposed injury.
“Are you ok, Michael?” somebody asked.
“Yes,” answered the boy.
“How many fingers am I holding up?” said someone else.
Michael tore his attention away from the bug and looked at the hand.
“Four,” he said. “And one thumb.”
“Does your head hurt?” asked his coach.
“No,” said Michael.
“I think he’ll be alright,” said a person Michael did not know.
“Was that the winning run?” said yet another onlooker.
The other team’s coach checked the scorecard and confirmed the victory.
Parents, anxiously waiting on the sidelines, began to collect their children. Michael was delivered to his mother.
“You scared me, honey. Did the ball hit you?” she asked him.
“No. I saw a bug.”
“Ah,” said his mother, who was not surprised. “Well, I think it’s time for this little bug to come home.”
Michael tugged away slightly.
“Can I get a candy, first?”
His mom laughed.
“Sure. But I think next summer we’re signing you up for swimming or something.”