Finals

The Nada Chronicles, part 48

 

By Hans Brockhuis

Translation: Nora Pelgrims and Layla TwoMoons

Both teams, lined up and stood facing each other as the greeting yells roared over the field and the over-crowded stands. The fans had gathered, radio and TV stations were present, the business seats were filled. Nobody wanted to miss anything of this annual top meeting between the two biggest rivalling hometown teams with both of them in their own town and each with their own support, their own ‘tribe’ to represent themselves.

The field players were in position; the pitcher and the catcher were sharply focused, the first batter was geared up in his box, the referee yelled: "play ball", and the game was on. The pitcher wound up and threw the first ball over home plate without the batter responding. "Strike One", the referee observed.

~*~*~*~

Three months before Mike had been chosen for the first time to play with the standard team. He was young, seventeen, but because of his exceptional talent, willpower and many hours of training, he had succeeded at this young age to make it to the team. His rather considerable skills at bat, but most of all his fieldwork and his amazing proficiency at the short-stop position, had made all this happen.

Yet, his younger years were not promising at all. Right after birth, the paediatrician found a little ‘rush’ in his heart and further research revealed only one functioning lung. An artery for the right lung was missing. So it seemed that his life ahead would be, physically speaking, not very active. Mike's school career passed on with ups and downs. During many years he had to miss almost one week each month of school and he lost track of the many visits to hospital which often extended to long periods of time. For that reason, he wasn’t able to catch up at school and had to repeat classes a few times. Additionally, he was often bullied and beaten by classmates for no apparent reason.

Euphemistically, one could say he didn't get a very promising start. Yet, Mike always knew there would be a turning point one day. At the age of twelve he watched a baseball game during the Olympics and his heart was captured by it straight away. He had to and should play along with this game. That his physical condition probably interfered with this idea, was no obstacle to him. He signed up at the local baseball team and during his first trainings, two things became clear. In the first place it was obvious that he would be completely exhausted after every training, what up to here he was able to cover up quite well. Secondly, his coach was pleased to observe that Mike could deal with the complexities of the game quite well.

John, the American trainer who didn't know anything about Mike's limitations, soon approached the parents to determine if it was possible to improve his condition in the gym and suggesting to speed up his training to get him ready for the upcoming season.

~*~*~*~

If you really want to accomplish something, one of the criteria is that your family, all around you, stand strongly and unconditionally with you. This certainly was the case with Mike's parents, and more than that. They made it very clear to coach John that the ambitions of their son seemed impossible in the short run, but that they would do everything in their power to help him. That was their goal anyway. They intended to move heaven and earth to prepare their son for an ‘as good as it can get’ future and were very aware that his ambitions would only help in accomplishing that.

The cardiologists and internists at the hospital were not hopeful, though. They pointed out that in theory, a lung transplant and a simultaneous heart operation, would be possible. Yet, much depended on the availability of a donor lung, the commitment of a surgical team, the necessary finances and Mike's condition for surgery which to date wasn't optimal for the known reasons.

Mike's father surfed the internet to investigate all possibilities. He faltered at a vast amount of alternative healers who without exception, didn't see much light at the horizon. None of them considered themselves competent enough to further Mike's oxygen absorption and in that way lift up his constant oxygen debt or even slightly improve it, to brighten Mike's future.

And still, dad Wesley did not give up. Gradually he and his wife came to the conclusion that Mike's determination could be the key to his success. An acupuncture practitioner was brought in who, with his needles, created more breathing space in Mike's chest. Physical therapy enhanced the boy's muscle mass. His common predisposition was boosted by nutritional supplements and homeopathic medicine. Since barely any of the costs were covered by the insurance companies, his mom Melanie accepted a job as a desk receptionist at an insurance company to cover all the expenses.

Yet, all of this didn't seem to be enough. The big reversal came after a dream where Mike -although initially he found this rather weird- seemed to be in direct contact with his grandfather who had passed away two years earlier. During that dream, grandpa assured him that if he really wanted, he would play the great finale in the metropolis in four years time and that he should hang on to this thought.

Afterwards, Mike noticed that his condition kept improving and a massive check-up at the Academic Hospital two years later showed that the so called Ventricle Septum Defect; the hole between both the heart chambers through which oxygen-poor venous blood formerly flowed into the arterial oxygen-rich bloodstream, had closed itself spontaneously. Moreover, the lung tissue of the remaining lung had been significantly improved.

Both these measurable physical values and the incalculable values of the senses, together with baseball team training made sure Mike wasn't sick that often any more. By then he was playing top of the stars at the local team and besides all this, going to school wasn’t a threat any more. He became more popular each year, making good grades.

~*~*~*~

Again, two years later, he was ‘scouted’ by the metropolitan baseball team. A nice contract was put before him which he, together with his brightly smiling and proud coach John, scrutinized thoroughly. They agreed that he and dad Wesley would take up negotiations with the ball players organization, so Mike could concentrate on his game. Until the day of the big match, he was lined up - to the great satisfaction of his field coach and other team players - as a short stop against lower opponents. And finally on the day of finale, against the huge competitor from H., he was again in the line up! For this occasion, placed in the outfield, with the possibility to move on to the short-stop position, if the weak arm of that player wouldn't make it to the end. The dream he once had about his grandfather, which Mike had not forgotten but always had taken with a grain of salt, had come true!

And the game itself? That reads itself as a young boy's book, with runs and home-runs for and against. During the first four innings the team from H. is ahead. Then Mike moves to the short stop position, where he throws a few fabulous double-plays whereby each time two opponents are out of the game. Eventually they win the championship. It is a victory for the entire team to which Mike has made a great contribution. On the way to the top, discipline is crucial. Even if this top is just a nice feeling. And you bet that with this championship, this tasted like more in a very extraordinary way.