This is my story of who I am & where I came from. It's flawed just like me and yet perfect
|I can remember the day as if it was yesterday, three days before summer vacation and we were in the woods on the right side of our house. My two older brothers and a neighbor from down the block. The world was great. Summer was almost here. I had my fingers crossed I passed everything so mom and dad would not be mad. I would be going on to fifth grade. Just a normal kid in a normal town on a normal day in New York. Scott?, I turned to look and my world exploded with white searing hot pain. I was in agony, screaming, vision blurred, tears, my brothers yelling, the neighbor yelling he was sorry. I didn't fall down my oldest brother grabbed me swiftly and held me to him shouting for my parents and slowly guiding me home.
My parents were informed quickly of what had happened, their son was just hit in the eye with an arrow. I was packed up in blankets, loaded into the back of the family car and driven to an eye specialist in New Jersey. I do not know the name of the clinic, but the doctor was a woman by the name of Dr. Spinak. For four hours I was strapped to a chair with piercing bright lights over me while she delicately picked wood splinters and debris out of my eye with a tiny pair of tweezers. I heard her say I needed surgery right away, I just wanted to sleep. I was done, mental and physical shut down.
My parents decided to take me to the Columbia Eye Institute in Manhattan. I was so tired that I didn't remember the trip. I was admitted and would be seeing Dr. Spalter the chief surgeon in the morning. My parents had to get home to take care of my brothers. They promised they would be back first thing in the morning. I was 9 years old, never been away from home over night in my life. I was brave, they asked if I wanted anything special, "yes please, just some M&M's". They left and a nurse came in to have me put my pajamas on. I put them on backwards I was so tired. I could hear sirens and traffic and city sounds. I was scared and didn't dare to get up to switch my jammies back around straight.
The next morning my parents still hadn't arrived and I was worried. The head surgeon wanted me brought back to examine me. I was on a gurney and they were about to wheel me out when my parents rushed in toting a five pound bag of the candy. They had gotten stuck in the traffic of New York City. They promised they would be waiting for me in my room and kissed me, and I was wheeled off. They put a mask on my face and the nurse said to count backwards from ten and I don't remember getting past five or four.
I woke up in my room and my parents were there and the Chief Surgeon was there too. His name he said was Dr. Spalter and he had some good news. He told me I didn't have to have surgery and the wound would heal naturally but had it been an eighth of an inch in any direction, I would of lost my eye.
There was some bad news though, he said he would need to bandage both eyes so my healthy eye would not weaken from trying to over compensate for the injured one. I wasn't allowed outside, I was told there were dust and dirt particles in the air. I could hear kids playing at the back of our house in the school yard. No television I was told as they thought it gave off radiation back then. (it was the 70's at the time) Report cards came, I wound up flunking math, not a word was said about it and I passed the grade and was promoted.
I was helpless most days and irritable, I didn't like staying inside and felt cooped up. My parents worked two jobs each and fought as they couldn't leave me home alone and had to ask my aunt to watch me. My room was right across the hall from them. I listened to them at night fighting, my father was prideful and did not like having to rely on my mother's side of the family to watch me.
The summer I had been excited for passed and was lost to me. It was October, I remember the trip back to the medical facility. The bandages were removed slowly, first from my healthy eye and then ever so slowly from the injured one. Blurry, very blurry, glasses were put on and kept on. My parents were told my injury had healed naturally as predicted but any hit to the face or head and i could lose my sight in that eye.
I was the baby of the family, right there and then my mother decided, No Sports, No Gym No Fighting. Growing up German in a Jewish neighborhood in New York is tough. Everyone always seemed to want to fight me. My brothers would still let me fight one on one but the rule was no hitting in the face. Looking back I did pretty well and always gave more then I took. (Personally I think this is what is wrong with the youth and our country these days. Back then, if you shot your mouth off, you got beat and you learned.)
High school I learned quickly, girls did not want to date someone who was not athletic or on a sports team. I was very unpopular and did not have a solid image for myself. I quickly learned to take any attention I could get, even negative attention by misbehaving or being a jerk in class. I never realized the difference between laughing "with you" and "at you" back then.
My parent's made excuse after excuse coddling me, no gym, no sports. I hated it and felt so weird. I felt like everyone looked at me like I was a freak, and I didn't fit in. Year book votes, I won most unusual, "yeah thanks".
I graduated and went to school at Embry Riddle wanting to fly. I could not due to my vision being to poor, but something amazing happened that semester. We were assigned books to read and one of them was "Illusions" by Richard Bach. I noticed it was a tiny little paperback book. It didn't look so bad and l noticed there were little quotes on some of the pages which made it easier to read.
I started reading it and could not put the book down. Here was an author searching for answers and he was finding them! One of the quotes rang true to me "Argue for your limitations and sure enough they're yours". I read that quote over and over, finished the rest of the book and read it again. A magic book, just open the page and what is most needed will be there waiting for you. I loved it, and decided right there and then I was in charge and not a victim of my past.
I went out for the roughest and nastiest sport I could find, lacrosse. I was already in shape six foot one 185 lbs so endurance was not an issue, but catching and throwing were. I kept running as hard as I could in the drills and sprints at the end of practice. "If you're going to make a mistake Scotty make it at full speed so you have time to recover". "Yes Coach!" I would hit the wall after practice and spend hours bouncing and throwing the ball at the wall and practicing catching.
Cuts came out and my name was still on the roster, I didn't say a word figuring it was a mistake, final cuts would be in another two days. My name was still on the active roster two days later I was curious and stopped at the office. The coach saw me coming and smiled, before I could ask him he said " I can teach skills all day long, but I can't teach heart". My eyes lit up and I am sure my jaw dropped to the ground, I thanked him so much and received a gentle admonishment. "Don't take any drills off or any sprints off or you're gone" I was on cloud nine that week.
I didn't get into either of the first two games, it didn't matter I was on the team cheering my teammates on loudly and then it happened. Game three, Fitzpatrick a long pole midfielder made a mistake. It was a mental error, as he thought we were playing offense when we were actually playing D. The coach was irate as it was evident "Fitzy" had not been paying attention to the game. "Scotty get in there at wing on D", I ran in as quickly as I could. The other team had the ball and a player beat his man one on one, I didn't slide, and they scored a goal. I was immediately pulled out. The coach was upset. He asked if I knew what I did wrong I told him and he put me back in, giving me a second chance. We wound up winning that game and I never lost my spot. I played my college career and in the process, became a man from a scared and scarred wounded child.
I love lacrosse and it is still a burning passion for me. I still play the game in an over 35 year old league and I have coached both recreational and high school ball. Words have power, both spoken and written words. I have never reached out to Richard Bach to tell him how much influence he had on my life, but I hope someday something I write might make a difference or give a little bit of hope or direction to someone who is lost.