When you grow up with two brothers, you learn to compete out of necessity. You learn this lesson early and are reminded of it frequently.
On one such occasion, I came up on the short end of a competitive endeavor.
Our grandfather was a golfer. He practiced his swings on the lot next to the apartment where we lived.
My brothers and I would retrieve his balls. Not unlike dogs, we’d chase them down and wrestle for each one.
At the end of the day, we would get rewarded a dime for each ball.
Daylight was ending and Grandpa was almost done with his bucket.
My brothers had bulging pockets. I had not been faring well that day. I had a few measly balls.
I was determined the last few would be mine.
Smack! Grandpa launched the golf ball. It arched high into the sky. Instead of letting it drop, I ran under it, attempting to catch it.
It hit me smack dab in the middle of my forehead.
A loud bang exploded inside my head.
Everyone scrambled to me, as I lay limp on the ground.
Someone shook me. A trio of voices asked me if I was okay.
They say I moaned. Opened my glazed eyes and looked up and said: “I’m fine, but I don’t think I could take another one of those."
My Dad broke out in laughter and my brothers joined me on the ground, laughing too.
I guess you had to be there.
I failed to get the humor at the time, but I enjoyed the ice cream sandwich I was rewarded for the ball that could have killed me.