by Bob Michael
The ongoing encounters of life in a rural Middle School.
By Bob Michael
Never before in the history of the world has there been a situation like this. At least not this year, and THAT I know for a fact. Well, not around here; and if it had happened, nobody told me about it. That's for sure. Mickey and Johnny Bancroft both threw no hitters back to back against McKinley Middle School and Longfellow Junior High. They are so good, and neither one of them has any real interest in baseball. They're twins and they compete at everything they do. Okay, Johnny actually likes baseball, he's a regular on the team every year, but his real sport is basketball. That's what he really enjoys most of the time. But Mikey has no interest in baseball at all, but since his brother threw a no hitter, he asked the coach if he could pitch the next game (and he's not even on the team). At least not until the coach signed him up the day before his pitching debut. Even the coach knows how competitive the brothers Bancroft are, and since Rob Sledgeholder broke his arm, our pitching was in trouble, so this couldn't have happened at a better time.
The very first pitch got away from Mikey and he hit Mrs. Yarnell the Art teacher in the face. She screamed like a baby as they hauled her away on a gurney. Actually is was a tractor-mower pulling a trailer just big enough to get her in it. Her face was bloody and gross, and the tractor was so slow you could hear it all through the inning sledging toward the school door that was only about 70 yards away, but this was Mikey's first pitch ever. When you think of it like that, it's not a bad start really. Mikey's second pitch bounced in the dirt and hit the batter in the balls. That made him cry a little, and Mikey laughed because it's always funny when a guy takes it in the balls. The third pitch was high and away, but the batter swung at it anyway and missed. The more Mikey Bancroft pitched, the better he threw and by the time the game was over, not one of Longfellow's batters reached base. It was amazing. Or it would have been if the other team hadn't been thrown out of the game at the top of the third inning when their pitcher took a pee right there on the mound. He said, "I thought we were in commercials."
"There are no commercials in Middle School baseball!" The umpire shouted. "Do you see any television camera's?" and with that, he disqualified Longfellow, and Mikey had his no hitter. It was a proud day at Hoover Middle School. And once again, the competition between the Bancroft twins was not disappointing. Usually we don't do so great against the city schools. They have more money and a lot more students than Hoover. We're not even in the city league, but we get to play exhibition games with them otherwise we wouldn't have anyone to play. There aren't enough schools in our division to make it worthwhile.
Of course they look down at us because we're on the other side of the city line. They call us Hoover Hicks. It is true that we can't afford to dress as well as the city-slickers (that's what we call them). Still, that's no reason for them to feel like they're better than we are. Their houses are like three times bigger than ours, so if you had to pick a reason, THAT'S the reason.
As a rule, we don't let the city slickers come on our side of the city line. They have no reason to be here, so we throw rocks at them. That's usually enough to keep them away. Mikey Bancroft is the best rock thrower. He can throw farther than anyone and his accuracy is pretty good too; just ask Mrs. Yarnell. There are those who think that Mikey's first pitch wasn't an accident. Mikey doesn't do that great in Art Class. It's not that he's bad at it. He's actually above average, but when Mrs. Yarnell asked the class to draw self-portraits, Mikey drew himself butt naked; with his hands on his hips like he was bragging or something. Susan Anderson asked if everything was anatomically correct and Eugene Kelly peed his pants from laughing so hard. He got to go home early because there weren't any rules that said you have to stay in school if you pee your pants.
So Mikey can throw a rock farther than anyone, and his brother Johnny is just about as good. The biggest difference between Mikey and Johnny is that Mikey is always in trouble and Johnny is only sometimes in trouble. Mostly Johnny is the good twin because he doesn't go around looking for trouble like Mikey does. Usually if he does get in trouble, it's from something Mikey did or started or had something to do with. But Mikey isn't like the evil twin or anything--he just gets bored sometimes and anything that's fun to do gets him in trouble. Like the time he went over to Linda Lick's house and her dad caught them playing naked Twister in her room. Mikey fled out of the room through the window with everything flying. Her dad would have gone after him, but he had to get Linda back in her Iron Lung. Okay, I know that sounds bad, but Linda told Mikey that she always wanted to play twister if only someone had the heart to help her dream come true. Mikey could have said, "No." He could have said, "Find someone else." But he didn't. He said, "Only if you'll do it naked."
To Be Continued