Earlier this year I helped my folks with a garage sale. They're considering downsizing, moving out of my childhood home, and they wanted to rid themselves of all the meaningless material objects that had been gathering dust in the garage and under the stairs. It turns out I ended up running the garage sale - I had only planned to visit for a few minutes but when my mom's partner slipped and broke her wrist, I was left to manage everything while they rushed off to the hospital. There was the occasional customer, and I browsed through a few things they had set out for sale. Nothing particularly caught my eye until I found an old shattered baseball bat.
This baseball bat had obviously been game-used, and it was split directly up the shaft, from the grip nearly all the way to the end. It didn't seem remarkable, an old Louisville Slugger that had been tossed somewhere in the house for decades. As I turned it over, I noticed a ticket taped to that bat. 1985. Eugene Emeralds. In my own childhood writing was the score. The Em's had won. Instantly I remembered the exact day I got that bat - it was a warm and sunny July day in Eugene, Oregon - one of the last when I can remember my folks still together. We had gone to the Em's game and I had insisted on getting ice cream in one of those small baseball helmet bowls. As we were returning to our 3rd base line seats, we had heard the crack of a bat - it was loud - and I remember briefly seeing my father reach up for something. He had deflected the bat - it had fallen at our feet. The batter had a shattered bat and had thrown it away as he ran towards third - perhaps with a bit more force than was needed. That was my trophy of the day, and today still remains a trophy of my childhood.