It was the fifth inning of a seven-inning game – one out, runners on first and second. Our season was on the line.
The coach called the infield in to get a force at third. I planted myself firmly in position on the second base line as a burly, bearded and questionably 17-year-old opponent dug in at the plate.
The count worked to 3-2, as I remained rooted on the baseline. I was 10 feet closer to this left-handed monster than I wanted to be.
The pitch, slow and straight… He cuts on, and…
Much to my relief, the ball caromed off the barrel of the bat, reaching skyward near the pitchers mound. I didn’t budge from my position as I waited for the umpire to call the automatic infield fly out. I was sneaky, figuring if I let it hit the ground, maybe I’d catch someone off guard.
Seconds ticked by and there was nothing but silence from the umpire – she’d engaged me in a standoff, calling my bluff. Panicking, I lunged forward to make a play for the ball, which was plummeting quicker and closer.
After one big step, I crumpled to the ground with no support from my legs or arms. My face bit the dirt, the chalky gravel in my nose and mouth.
Having been planted in my stance for so long, my leg had fallen asleep.
When people ask why I want to be a sports writer – why I want the late hours, cold rinks and rainy ball fields – that’s the story I tell.
I can write that story 10 times better than I could live it at the time. I guess those who can’t do, write.
With one of my most embarrassing moments out of the way, here’s the formal introduction. My name is Ryan Cooke and I’m the new sports editor here at the Truro Daily News.
I’m a Newfoundlander to the core, but I’ve spent the last four years in Prince Edward Island learning the ropes of the business. When this job came up, I jumped at the chance to have control over a sports section in a town with high-caliber hockey, baseball, soccer, football and everything else under the sun. I jumped at the chance to make changes, to be creative and informative all the while entertaining you.
But I can’t do it alone. I need your help. I’m a 22-year-old rookie in a new town, and it’s going to take me a while to figure things out. So bear with me, and always send me your ideas. This is a community newspaper – this is for your eyes and your enjoyment – so tell me what I can do to make it better.
I feel like a new kid in school, trying to edge my way into the cool clique. Had I written a pleading public letter in school, however, I likely would have gotten beat up. So here’s hoping this goes a little better.
Anything you have for me – a minor baseball score, a hole-in-one, a neighbour who can dunk or a dog that can skateboard – let me know.
You’re a good lookin’ town, Truro. Let’s have fun with this.
Note: For any ideas, tips, scores, etc. you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, Tweet me @TDNRyan, or call me at 896-7505 (office) or text me at 394-3511 (cell).