Editor, the Advocate:
On summer days in the mid 1950s, before the age of the internet, smart phones and video games, the guys in my neighborhood would play baseball from morning until night, taking only a short break for lunch.
Freddy was one of the bigger guys in my group. He wore the nicest clothes, had the newest fielder’s glove, and owned the bat and ball that we all used during the game. On more than one occasion he told the rest of us that he could have played for the high school team, but didn’t like the coach.
Freddy (not his real name) always insisted on being a team captain, and would demand first pick among players for his team. He always pitched for his team, and usually batted cleanup.
But Freddy’s most memorable trait was his complete inability to admit any kind of loss or failure. If he struck out, he would insist that he had tipped the ball and was due another swing. If he was called out at first, he would argue that he had beat the throw.
If his team lost, it was always because the other team cheated.
On the rare occasion when a neighborhood adult volunteered to umpire, Freddy would dispute balls and strikes, fair or foul calls, and put-outs that weren’t even close. If his team lost, he would insist that the ump favored the other team.
A couple of times, Freddy left the field in protest, taking his equipment with him and leaving the rest of us to scrounge another ball and bat to finish the game. The second time he pulled this stunt the rest of us decided to exclude him from reentering the game if he showed up later (which he did when it was almost sundown). We finished the game without him. In the next few days, although he tried, Freddy no longer received his customary special treatment. After that, he was much easier to deal with, and the rest of us wondered why we had put up with his domineering behavior for so long.
During the past four years, while watching Donald Trump’s domineering behavior and authoritarian rule, I have often been reminded of Freddy.
Jim Ford, Victoria