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Dad watches my reaction. He doesn’t get worked up by much. Believes what I do in my spare time is my hobby to choose, but me going to college—that’s his dream. Dad finished high school and isn’t quiet about wanting more for me than minimum wage and backbreaking work. These summer institutes promise potential college interviews.
Coach Reynolds picks up on Dad’s change in body language and pounces. “Our guidance counselor says Logan has a ton of universities hunting him down. Just think how much more marketable he’ll be with another baseball championship under his belt.”
Mom sits taller in her seat. “You should see his IQ scores. They’re off the chart. They say intelligence comes from the mother’s side.”
Dad chokes and Mom shoots him a rare dirty look. I drink to hide my smile. Mom’s smart—even has a fancy degree from a fancy university, but she prefers horoscopes to science.
“Moving schools between your junior and senior year—that takes courage.” Coach moves the conversation back to me. “Joining the team will help you make friends fast.”
Most people would be torn up about the decision to switch schools, but my best friends graduated this past spring and so did half my baseball team. Then a week after graduation, two of my three baseball coaches announced they were transferring schools. Within a heartbeat, I was left behind.
I yank on my baseball cap and push the salad around in the bowl. Being left behind. Can’t say that felt good.
“I don’t want to play this summer.” I cut to the meat of the issue. “I need some time off.”
Dad looks thoughtfully over at me. I hadn’t said this to him yet, just stated that I was done with ball, but like Dad’s already aware, I do change my mind. I’m not passionate about baseball like my best friends Chris and Ryan. They live for the game where I just enjoyed being with friends and the rush of playing catcher.
“You’ve been around enough,” Coach Reynolds says. “You know how we like to play on rec league teams during the off-season to keep the guys in shape.”
“I know.” My eyes meet his and he’s reading me. Nothing he’ll do or say will convince me to give up my summer goals.
“So explain to me again how the diabetes works,” the coach says, switching the subject either because he’s curious or because he’s buying himself time to convince me to change my mind.
Dad and I share a brief glance while Mom acts like she’s the authority on me. Coach Reynolds drenches his last French fry in ketchup as he nods at Mom’s basic explanation of sugar levels, glucose testing, and insulin shots.
My mouth waters when he pops that fry into his mouth. To play the “I’m responsible game” with my parents, I’m eating a grilled chicken salad. I hate vegetables. Can’t describe the undeniable amount of hate I have toward all things green, but lately, my blood sugar’s been off.
Doctor says it’s normal—my hormones fluctuating. Mom says it’s negative energy. Dad wonders how responsible I’m being with managing my diet, exercise, and testing routines. Dad and the doctor could be tied for the win.
“So you’re saying I don’t need to worry about anything?” Coach Reynolds balls up his napkin and tosses it over his empty plate. “That Logan’s responsible about all this and will be able to take care of everything if he plays for us?”
“Logan...” Dad pauses and I raise an eyebrow. Dad’s the one who convinced me to give baseball a try after the initial diabetes diagnosis when I was seven. It was his attempt to prove that I could do anything, even with type 1. I often wonder if he regrets that conversation. Bet he never thought his son with type 1 would become a daredevil.
Dad reboots and starts the conversation again. “Logan knows when to test and has been giving himself his insulin for years.”
It’s a politician answer. The truth without admitting the truth. Dad doesn’t think I’m responsible. Not with my diabetes and not with my life.
Coach Reynolds accepts Dad’s answer with a wave of his hand. “Sounds good. We’ll hold a team meeting if he decides to join. Explain the situation to them. Maybe if you have a pamphlet—”
“No.” I cut him off and his eyes snap to mine.
“If I join nobody but the coaching staff knows.”
Coach Reynolds warily flicks his eyes to my parents. He’s searching for support but ends up on his own. “I’ll admit to not understanding your condition, son, but from what I understand, this is serious.”
It is. I crashed once on an ER table. Shit doesn’t get much more real and serious than that. “Outside of doctors’ offices, there are a handful of people who are aware of my diabetes. My last team won back-to-back state championships and my teammates never knew their catcher can’t produce enough insulin.”
My two best friends didn’t know and still don’t.
“There’s no shame in telling—”
I cut him off again. “Would you run headfirst into a guy whose body doesn’t work right? Would you purposefully hurl a ball full force at a guy if you thought he was broken?”
Coach Reynolds circles his wedding ring on his finger and my stomach bottoms out. Bet he’s got kids and he’s confusing his feelings for them with the idea of putting me on the field. “Should they? I have to admit, I’m questioning if this choice is wise.”
I rest my arms on the table and lean forward, never breaking eye contact. “I stood between your biggest guy and home plate in the championship a few weeks back. He hauled ass in my direction for home. I caught the ball, took the charge, and tagged his ass out. I’m sitting here and from what I hear, he’s still nursing a broken leg. I am not weak.”