New Castle News

Gary Church

September 28, 2012

Gary Church: Sure, I’m a loser at sports but I score high at Pie

NEW CASTLE — I've never had a good throwing arm for playing ball.

I went through most of my childhood as being the last guy picked to be on a team.

When I did get picked, I was either the catcher or put so far out in right field that no one could see me.

I did not possess a natural talent for sports.

It just so happened one time that the older guys needed one more player to even up the teams.

I was the only kid in the neighborhood available, so I got picked.

When it came time to take the field, I went to my usual spot, standing far off, in the middle of someone’s garden in right field.

Wouldn't you know it, a ground ball was hit my way.

When it finally quit rolling and I got past the tomatoes and beans, I picked up the ball to throw to the second baseman.

I knew my overhand throw wasn't very strong, so I tossed it underhand, straight up in the air. In fact, I caught my own throw.

That was my last time I got picked to play with the big boys.

Then, there was my basketball career.

I wasn't very good at that either.

In eighth grade at George Washington, I was picked as a sub on our class team.

Only once during my career did someone throw the ball to me during the game.

I stood there all alone, ball in hand, with my classmates yelling, "Shoot, Shoot!"

I did. It was my first shot ever in a game.

It would be nice if I could tell you it went in and I won the game for the team, but that wasn't what happened.

The ball went under the backboard, through the gym doors, and rolled down the steps toward the locker room.

That might have been the only time I saw Mr. Ralph Pugh smile.

I think I still have my GW letter that I got for playing on that eighth-grade team.

Every time I see it, I'm reminded of watching my ball going through those gymnasium doors. I smile a little bit myself.

I wasn't always a loser — only in the certain things that I wasn't good at.

Just ask me who beat the college champ at our church pie eating contest.

That's what you call natural talent.

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