– Ben Martens

They’ll Never Believe Me

I don’t remember the source, but recently I heard some people talking about totally absurd things that happened in their lives. Things where people would struggle to believe it if they weren’t there. I came up with quite a few but here are three of my favorites:

Up the Middle
I spent a lot of my time on the baseball field on the pitcher’s mound. While pitching, one of the scariest (in retrospect) parts was the line drive rocketing back at me faster than I threw it. If you do the math, there’s less than half a second from the time a pitcher releases the ball until it reaches home plate and makes the return trip. It hurts. A lot. I feel like I remember every ball that came back at me but one from high school stands out. It was all I could do to spin out of the way in what I’m sure was a very undignified manner, but once I realized I wasn’t broken, I looked out towards center field to see where it had ended up. But nobody was moving… why were they cheering instead of chasing the ball? One of them pointed at my glove and when I looked down, there it was! As I had spun to the left, my left hand went behind my back and the ball not only hit my glove, but lodged itself in and stayed there. That’s one out, the scary lucky way.

One Down, One Million to Go
When we were kids, Dad built us an amazing treehouse. Over the years, the squirrels got a lot of use out of it. The siding on the treehouse was a smorgasbord for them. From my bedroom window, Google Maps says it was 65 feet to the treehouse. One of my windows didn’t have a screen on it and Dad gave me permission to open it up and shoot squirrels from my room with my BB gun. I could usually scare them enough to make them leave but nothing more than that. One morning, as usual, I spooked one enough that it headed back towards the woods. I quickly put another pellet into my gun, pumped it 10 times and fired as the squirrel was on a dead run across the yard, 85 feet away. My mouth dropped in amazement when the squirrel did a somersault and didn’t get up. I ran to tell Dad and he gave me a .410 to go make sure it was dead. It turns out I didn’t even need the shotgun because I had sent the pellet right through its tiny little skull.

The Kickball Shot
I don’t remember what grade I was in, at some point in grade school, I was walking across the parking lot during recess with the kickball. Someone behind me asked if they could have it. I said sure and instead of turning around nicely and rolling it to them, I punted it backward over my head as I was walking away. I turned around to see where it landed and to our collective surprise, it flew directly over the backboard of the hoop that was probably 20-30 feet behind me and swished through. These were big kickballs so making a basket at all was difficult. Doing it from that far away accidentally with a kick backwards over your head? I could try for the rest of my life and never repeat that.