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Shocker of the Week

May 16, 2011
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Author’s Note: Since this week marks the five-year anniversary of my undergrad graduation, here’s a throwback post to my college musings, the infamous Shockers of the Week

This week’s shocker of the week goes to… well… me. Who else?

It’s funny how sometimes one action can directly lead another. This particular edition, as is often the case when I am featured, involves a miserable failure which led to another failure, that at the time felt like a glorious victory.

Our story begins on the fields that run along the Potomac south of the Tidal Basin known as the Polo Fields. As I was walking back through the mist across the empty fields after a soccer game, I saw a familiar site – presumably the DC area’s only weekly cricket match. Admiring the scene that looked like a Bollywood Field of Dreams (aside from the Jefferson Memorial in the background), I allowed myself to daydream a bit.

What if, I wondered, they hit the ball in my general direction giving me an opportunity to display my exceptional knowledge of international team sports by waiting for the ball to exit the field of play while also showcasing my athletic prowess with a strong grab and toss back to the bowler. Just the ego boost I needed after a mediocre game of soccer.

Eventually, I found myself walking along the large field, and sure enough, a looping fly ball was heading right towards me. “You have gotta be kidding me,” I thought. With my soccer gear in one hand (it’s important for me to note that I was at a disadvantage), I settled back, and looking up into the falling rain drops, waited for the ball to easily drop into my hand. But then, just as the moment approached, I panicked thinking “wait, is this not going to be as soft and cushy as I think it is?”

The ball skimmed off my wrist and into oncoming traffic – a situation I briefly considered replicating for myself rather than endure the embarrassment that followed as I was heckled mercilessly by the crowd of cricketers.

***

That evening, I went to a wedding, and it seemed I would be forced to see the day come to an end without overcoming the afternoon’s embarrassment. However, just as Handy hilariously produced the garter from his wife Tasja’s leg, I realized I had a shot at redemption. I would not let another opportunity to catch a falling object fall by the wayside. The next three pictures tell the tale:

I got in a good athletic stance. As you can see, I'm the only one actually trying here.

The real tragedy in this story is the 13 year old to my left. As you can see, Berg's head was in the right place as he attempted to direct the proceedings. I, however, had my eye on the prize. Fortunately, no one got a picture of his heart breaking.

I wish I could tell you that Handy made a glorious toss of the garter into the crowd. I wish I could tell you that in a rare display of humility and honor that I boxed everyone else out and let that eager 13 year old collect the spoils. I wish I could, but I can’t.

Handy opted for a seldom attempted slingshot approach, and the garter fell meekly 5 feet in front of the crowd. Before anyone could really decide if it was a legal toss, I scooped it off the ground, and started celebrating like it was Lake Placid and I had just singlehandedly knocked off the Soviets.

There’s a lesson here somewhere, but I think it’s too soon for me to quite know what it is.

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