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News and Events
by Brian Weilert

I leaned into it

just like my dad had taught

Wincing as it slapped my flank with a dull thud

I stared down the pitcher

As I took first base

Whoever had named them softballs

Never took one off the ribs

“She’s trying to get hit!”

The coach screamed from the other dugout

“Don’t reward that garbage!!”


She was right 

My dad,

my coach,

always preached

“Don’t you ever make the last out.”  


there it was

my final year  

the middle of a losing season

top of the last inning

two outs

bases empty

trailing by 13 runs…

and I was risking injury by

leaning into it

just like Dad taught


It was times

times like that

 I questioned the sanity of the lesson

What exactly was to be learned?




I rejected those thoughts

I was not a foolish girl


Mom always said

Before she passed

“Never get interested in a boy from a broken home,

it is a grab-bag of misfortune”



as seeds

hoping to take root


I didn’t listen



On his third step-dad

Punched me for the first time

midway through my senior year

He was so handsome

So popular

Everyone loved him


As I took hit



But I was no quitter


It was a lost cause

But I wasn’t going to be the one


I leaned in

Just like dad taught


Everyone loved him

Except me


We continued to date


Without knowing

I took this experience

And applied it to all men


Dad included

Mixed in the mental mayhem

That had me confused



Dad didn’t care

about lofty lessons

I convinced myself

Like most men

He was just selfish

My coach

My dad

Afraid of being ashamed

He didn’t care about winning

just didn’t want to be the one to lose

Letting someone else take the fall

He didn’t care about my well-being

but rather saving face


I knew I had it right…

Was sure of it

And I was better for knowing…

Best to go into life with open eyes

And I

Wasn’t going to reward that garbage



So we didn’t talk

Or I didn’t talk

A strained few final months

Before college

I left Dad on the porch

With tears in his eyes

Not bothering with a goodbye

As John’s car

Loaded with my belonging

Backed down the drive


But I had it all wrong

So very wrong


One morning

Back for break





After coming home

With a black eye and a lie

My dad’s face changed

And I didn’t see him


Until the arraignment


The charge was murder

As I sat in the back of the court

He turned to look at me

My eye still discolored

gave a small smile

And mouthed he loved me


He pleaded to a lesser charge

And went to prison


When I first found out I had cancer

I was alone

It was as if I had killed John

Small-town rumors

An abuser recast

As a hero

cut down in his prime

And friends become vapors

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