Memorial Day is the unofficial start to summer, and summer was in full bloom in America. The nation experienced mostly beautiful weather.
The Midwest had highs in the 80s, The Southeast experienced temps even higher. Temperatures in the Florida panhandle exceeded approximately 173 degrees.
But it’s important to remember that it wasn’t a great Memorial Day weekend for everyone.
Yesterday in Saint Louis, for example, a man named Phillip was playing baseball with his kids while his wife, Lindsey, was making potato salad inside. The day was going swimmingly.
“Guys in my family have always played baseball on Memorial Day weekend,” Philip wrote to me this morning in an email. “It’s a longstanding tradition for us.”
Phillip was pitching. His 11-year-old son, Austin, was at the plate. Phillip delivered an easy pitch underhand. His son swung the bat like the baseball had personally insulted his mother. The bat connected.
The good news is that Phillip’s son hit a line drive. The bad news is: it was a line drive which struck a part of Phillip’s anatomy most often associated with procreation.
The ball nailed Phillip. He howled in pain. He went down under the power. His kids all gathered around him and asked if he was okay. All Phillip could utter was, “Go get your mom, please.”
It bears mentioning, Phillip’s son was using an aluminum bat not a wooden bat. Which might not sound like an important detail to this story except that the exit velocity of a ball hit by an aluminum bat is a LOT higher than that of one hit by a wooden bat.
A ball hit by a wooden bat has an average velocity of 60 to 80 mph. Whereas a ball hit by an aluminum bat is capable of breaking the sonic barrier.
Phillip’s wife approached her husband and asked her children what had happened.
Her 4-year-old son remarked, “Austin hit daddy in the Twinkie.”
His wife had to excuse herself for a moment. When she returned, her face was red and she looked like she’d been laughing.
“I wasn’t laughing,” said Phillip’s wife. “It’s allergies.”
Then, his wife single-handedly loaded Phillip into their SUV. She placed him in the cargo hold because Phillip was incapable of sitting. Phillip laid on on his side throughout the long ride to the hospital and tried to remind himself to breathe.
Occasionally, he heard a cackling sound coming from the front seat, but his wife swears that her allergies get so bad this time of year.
“My wife doesn’t even have allergies,” Phillip writes.
At the hospital, a doctor checked him out. The nurse removed Phillip’s trousers and the medical professionals inspected the bruising. The doctor asked how it happened.
Phillip’s 4-year-old spoke again. “My brother hit my daddy in the Twinkie.”
The doctor nodded, covered his mouth, then excused himself briefly. The medical man left the exam room and Phillip swears he heard the sound of the doctor’s allergies acting up.
When the doctor returned, he was out of breath and he had four other male medical colleagues with him who were available to offer their expertise. Also, the janitor said he wanted to see, too.
One of the veteran ER doctors, male, inspected the bruising and wore a grave face. Whereupon he looked Phillip square in the eye and said, “Son, I’m afraid we’re going to have to remove it.”
At which point, all medical staffers excused themselves again and Phillip heard more allergies in the hallway.
“What kind of world is this we live in,” Phillip wrote to me, “when doctors and nurses can’t even act professionally?”
Thankfully, as it turns out, Phillip will make a full recovery. The main advice the doctor gave Phillip was to use frozen vegetables—either corn or peas work best—to de-inflame the affected netherregions. Once the bruising goes away, the doctor recommends that Phillip retire his jersey and quit baseball altogether.
Phillip spent most of today in the supine position, lying on his sofa. All day, Philip’s friends have been stopping by to wish him well.
“They’ve been bringing me a lot of Hostess products,” said Phillip.
He hopes that by sharing his story he can warn fathers out there to take the proper protective measures when playing backyard sports.
“I just don’t wanna see this happen to someone else,” he added. “I think it’s time we talked openly about this painfully sensitive subject.”
Now if you’ll excuse me, my allergies are acting up.