End of softball days
As much as I hated softball practice, I was getting better at it. I was no strong hitter, but as the third baseman, I missed no bounders and my throw into the 1st base was quick and accurate. Mr. Watanabe was impressed with my improvement. I caught the balls that came my way almost 100% of the time, so the competitor’s coach warned the hitters to avoid hitting in my direction.
There were only 6 of us from the 3rd grade, so the unskilled 2nd-grade girls had to participate in the game. We lost most of the games, and my softball years came to an end anticlimactically. It was such a relief that I was happily eating my onigiri after the last game, when Mr. Watanabe asked me, “Do you now understand the greatness of the school sports program?” I replied, no, I was pleased it finally ended. Mr. Watanabe drooped his shoulders and silently puffed a cigarette smoke.