Photo: Genessa Gutzait · The Sentry

Photo: Genessa Gutzait · The Sentry
Odd Man Out

Over the weekend, a friend and I went to see

The House with a Clock in its Walls.  It was a way better film than I expected it to be, if I’m honest. It’s been a hot minute since I’ve seen a kids’ movie in theaters and I forgot just how annyoing little children can be during a film.

The next night that same friend and I attended a Rockies game—my first since moving to Denver.  It was at that game, while we discussed the sport of baseball and the film we had seen the night before, that I realized my own connection to each.

There’s a scene near the beginning of The House with a Clock in its Walls where Lewis, the 10-year-old protagonist, is left odd man out  while his classmates are picking teams for Basketball. In an incredibly funny but heartbreaking move, the other kids even choose a classmate on crutches as their teammate just to avoid having Lewis on their team.

In middle school P.E. whenever we would play baseball as a class, I would stand at the back of the line with my best friend and hope not to get picked. Eventually I always was, but not until most other possibilities were exhausted. I was fine with that.

Then one day I was called to bat and, by some miracle, hit a home run. The ball flew into the parking lot across the street. I couldn’t believe it—no one could. I ran all the way around to home base and thought I was the best thing since sliced bread. I also thought this meant that I would now be the hot pick for teams. I was wrong.

The next time we played baseball a few days later, I was still at the back of the line, keeping my head down, getting picked next-to-last. Nothing had changed, and I remember a deep feeling of regret and sadness at my lack of popularity in sports.

Of course, I don’t care or worry about getting picked last for baseball anymore. I haven’t played the game in years. But seeing something similar to my own life on a screen reminded me of two simple facts: kids are cruel, stubborn, and unforgiving; and I’m bad at baseball.

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