The Project to Document Every Damn Thing: T-Shirts of My Life brings you a shirt from grade two.
I signed up to play softball because my little friends had. They knew how to play. I had absolutely no idea. My family didn’t watch sports. The coach - an old school bully - sussed out my inabilities fast, and gave me a token position - substitute right field. Mostly I sat on the bench.
I played one game. I still understood nothing about how the game was played. I sat and watched from the bench the whole ga - nope! At some sudden moment, the coach, angry at the seven year old third baseman for something, cursed and yelled at me to take his place! I did! A kid got a hit, and the ball was thrown to me! I caught it! I touched the base with my foot like a pro! - and watched, uncomprehending, as he ran by me and towards home plate. The whole team screamed at me: Throw the ball! Throw the fucking ball! And I did, but not successfully.
On the bench Bryan yelled at me to explain that you had to tag the guy AND touch the base.
Because I had been put on base, I learned, I had to be put up to bat. Nervous as heck, I took my place at bat. I swung at the first pitch, and CRACK! hit it hard. I dropped my bat and started running, but learned I had hit it directly to the first base person’s glove. I was out.
I was sad after. Naturally. My Dad, who had been there and had watched, didn’t say anything - not unusual. Partway home, he pulled into the parking lot of JC Penney's, and said “Wait here.” He returned, and handed me a brand new baseball. It’s a weird moment to retell, but I remember it fondly. I never played another organized sport. But I kept the shirt for 40 years.