Inspired by @k8zinker reminding me that my story li.sts are missed.
  1. "Shut up! Put it in your mouth," he said.
  2. He was a senior, I was a sophomore. He was the big man on campus and I just wanted to fit in and be accepted by the cool kids.
    So, I did it.
  3. Well, I didn't do it as much as he did it for me.
    He grabbed me by the lip and shoved it in.
  4. It was bigger than I expected and I kinda gagged a little.
    I wasn't sure what to do with all the excess fluids in my mouth, so... I swallowed it. 😳
  5. Then my coach yelled at me.
    "Dude, you're going in next inning, right field, you'll bat in the 5 spot."
  6. It was my first varsity baseball game, and the only high school game my dad came to. I wasn't sure if I was even going to play.
    It was also the first time I tried chewing tobacco. (What did you think this was about?) 🤔😏😉
  7. I ran out to right field, sun beating down on me, stomach in knots, and I was starting to feel light headed and sick from the chewing tobacco.
    I remember thinking, "I'll be fine as long as nobody hits a ball to me this inning."
  8. The leadoff batter smacked a tailing line-drive right at me.
    I took a few steps to my left, reached my glove out and the ball sailed directly between my face and the glove and rolled all the way to the right field corner. By the time I got there and got the ball in it was a stand up double.
  9. For those scoring at home, my first play on the varsity team was "E9."
  10. The inning ended mercifully without another ball being hit in my direction.
    I immediately ran to the dugout, then behind the dugout where I removed the chewing tobacco and proceeded to lose my lunch.
  11. When it was my turn to bat that inning, I struck out on 3 pitches.
    I also got stung by a bee on my forearm between pitches.
  12. Then I got pulled from the game.
  13. Then my dad left, but not before giving me a few words of constructive criticism.
    "Nice fielding slick, next time let the ball hit you in the face, at least you'll knock it down."
  14. But, all was not lost. I was called up to pitch, not to play outfield or hit, and over the next few weeks I proved that I belonged on varsity.
    And I learned that, in this case, it's better to spit rather than swallow.