The outfield of the Trenton Titans slammed Sammie Dees into the lockers with the full combined force of their body’s weight. Sammie’s eyes were still soaked with champagne and he was unable to see this impending assault from his teammates. This act of aggressive behavior however, was well justified. The Titans had just beaten the Duluth Dynamo for a chance to head to the national world series. Right fielder Oscar Rayas dumped almost a full bottle of champagne over Sammie’s head. Desmond Perry, Sam’s friend from their minor league days, grabbed him by the waist in a brotherly fashion. Finally, left fielder Paul Sullivan smacked Sam on the back multiple times as if he were trying to dislodge something from Sam’s throat. The mood now throughout the locker room was far different from the one of complete suspense that filled Titans Stadium forty minutes earlier. It had been the bottom of the ninth inning with merely one out away from the Titans clinching the game and moving on to the series. Duluth’s notorious home run slammer, Lou Gritakas had stepped up to the plate to bat. Two strikes in and a miracle happened. Gritakas popped up the ball to short stop. Sammy easily caught it with two hands ending Duluth’s run. Sammy always habitually caught every pop-up that came his way with two hands. A leftover move from way back from his days in the little leagues.
When Sammy was twelve years old, he was given a nickname by some of his teammates. They called him “SwissCheese Dees”. This unfortunate label was given to him due to the regularity of him missing catches.
“That kid must have holes in his hands, just like a piece of Swiss cheese.”
origin of the name that was created by another player. Each missed catch by Sammy in any subsequent game merely strengthened the persona given to him. This was Sammy’s fate until he decided to change it. He started practicing religiously at home, in the park or wherever he found the space and time to catch a baseball. Sammy practiced catching to the point where he literally felt like his arms were going to fall off. Throughout all of catches he disciplined himself to always use two hands in a pop-up. No need to show off and be a superstar.
The screams in the Titan’s locker room had now escalated into epic decibels as the division trophy was brought in. Sammy stood there with his teammates, their smiles widening even more when grasping the intensity of the moment.
Sammy often thought of those days in the little league. The fates of those belligerent players that criticized and blamed Sammy for any problems the team had at the time. He never found out what happened to them but, he knew for sure none of them were standing here victorious.
None of where they were now was important any way. This present moment of pure glory is what mattered. A present where Sammy Dees wore a champagne soaked sports uniform and his days of being “Swiss cheese” were long behind him.
Three thing challenge – cheese, locker and sports uniform