131 comments

Inspirational Drama Kids

In life there are monumental occurrences that act as time-freezing snapshots; the kind of events where, for the rest of your life, you remember exactly where you were when they happened. My grandfather used to speak with reverence about the day he heard Kennedy was shot. My mother spoke similarly of finding out about the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger. For me it was the day I stopped playing baseball.


I was ten years old when I got my first “real” glove. It was a god’s honest big-league Rawlings rawhide glove and I loved it from the start. My dad, who my mom always called a hard-working man, brought it home from work and presented to me as if I had won an award. It was enormous, at least for a ten-year-old, and my dad had stuck a big red bow right in the pocket. I couldn’t move fast enough to get my new glove on my left hand although I had to spread my fingers as wide as they could go to make it fit.


“Well, J.R., what do you think?" he said smiling. "Is it too big? Should I take it back?” 


My dad always called me J.R. even though they weren’t my initials. His name was Timothy William Melesky and so was mine so the J.R. stood for junior.  


“Not on your life, dad!” I said as I turned away and clutched my new prized possession to my chest. “It fits perfectly. It’s the best glove ever.”  


“Go get my glove from out of the closet and we’ll have a quick catch before dinner.” Before the last words were out of his mouth I was on a dead sprint to retrieve Dad’s glove. The glove was old and worn; his dad had given it to my dad when he was about the same age as I was when I got mine. He had used the glove all through high school and college and even for a few years as a minor league pitcher. It had been repaired many times but the core of the glove was the same as the day his father gave it to him. In my young life, there was nothing I wanted more than my father's glove until he gave me mine, and that day I decided I would keep my glove forever.


That night we had our first game of catch, the first of many. My dad worked two jobs for as long as I could remember but he always found time to play baseball with me and before long he started teaching me how to pitch. Make no mistake, pitching is a skill you can learn, but to be good you have to have a natural gift. My dad had it and if he hadn’t hurt his arm he might have played major league ball. He told me with "all due humility" that he was the greatest pitcher he'd ever known -- until he saw me pitch. He was my dad and probably biased but he knew the gift had been passed down to me.  


By my sophomore year in high school, I had become a starting pitcher on the varsity team and had already received more than 20 scholarship offers including one from Louisiana State University, my dad’s alma mater. It was fun to see how many colleges pursued me but everyone knew, when the time came, that I would accept the offer from LSU and head south to pitch for the Tigers.  


Then it happened, the day that changed my life. My Kennedy assassination; my space shuttle Challenger.


It was a beautiful day in May, the kind of day that baseball movies are made about. The sun was shining, the air was crisp, and I was scheduled to start the last game of my senior season. My dad had to work that morning but he had arranged to get off early and to be at the game by first pitch. The day was also important because I was going to announce my choice of college and there were going to be local news outlets there to cover my decision. 


As I got ready to head onto the field with the rest of my team, I looked down at my glove and remembered the first game of catch Dad and I had, almost eight years earlier. My glove wasn’t as worn as his but it had been restitched a few times and was well broken in. It was a connection with my childhood, and my dad, and my future and in many ways, it was my most important possession. I loved that glove.


As I ran out onto the field to the band playing our school fight song, I looked in the stands to see my family in their usual spot but my mom was alone. My head tilted a little to the side as my face squinched in confusion. I held my arms out as if to say “Where is dad?” but my mom just shrugged. 


Most times we worry for nothing. The person who seems to be missing, overslept or ran out of gas. It’s seldom the worst, almost never. I kept telling myself that as I threw my warm-up pitches and started the game. The first inning I retired all three batters in order and once back in the dugout sent a team trainer to ask my mom where my dad was. When he came back with the message that she didn’t know and that he wasn’t answering his phone I started to worry. 


At a time when I should have been concentrating on a game my mind was focused on my dad's absence. I was pitching in a anxiety-induced fog, trying to end each inning as quickly as possible so I could, once again, send the trainer for an update. To my dismay each time he would return with the same answer.  


Baseball is not a timed sport. It’s one of the few games that can go on forever, but that day I wanted nothing more than for the game to end. Maybe it was that or maybe it was just being on autopilot but when I went out to pitch the ninth inning I hadn’t allowed a single runner to reach base. I was pitching a perfect game with only three outs to go. Even knowing this was my last inning I was still less concerned about the game than I was about my dad, however, eight pitches and three outs later I was being mobbed by my teammates for completing baseball's rarest feat. 


For a moment I embraced the celebration and allowed myself to forget about my dad, just for a moment -- but when I regained focus and looked back to the stands my mom was no longer alone. Two police officers were with her and she was crying hysterically.  


My dad had been rushing to see me pitch when a pickup truck ran a red light and plowed right into my dad’s car. He was killed instantly, as was my desire to play baseball. I packed my glove away with the bow that had adorned it the day my dad gave it to me. I was never going to pick it up again.


It has been said that time heals all wounds and to an extent that's true. The day my dad was killed was the worst in my life; it was frozen in time but I wasn’t. I still went to LSU but on an academic scholarship not an athletic one and it was there that I met the love of my life, Julie. She brought back my smile, and against my advice, accepted my marriage proposal. 


On the day we were married I wore the same suit my dad had worn when he had married my mom and, at my request, there was a picture of my dad prominently displayed at the reception. He wasn’t there in person but he was there in spirit and that had to be enough.


Three years after we were married my lovely wife gave birth to a baby boy we named Timothy William the third. From the day he was born I called him Trey; It was an homage to my dad and I knew somewhere he was smiling.  


On Trey’s second birthday I bought him a football and on his eighth, at his request, a tennis racket. I wanted my son to know the joy of playing sports but when he asked for a baseball glove for his tenth birthday I reluctantly had to tell him no.  


“We are not a baseball family, Trey," I told him. "Is there anything else you would like?”


“I’ll take a basketball if that’s okay.” 


He was such a good sport; he didn’t argue. He just moved on to another choice. It’s funny the things I learned from my ten-year-old son. I learned you need to be willing to adjust your sights and I also learned that as much as I loved and missed my father I loved my son more.  


Tragedy very rarely happens slowly. As I had learned the day my dad died it usually happens in an instant. I was at work when I got the call from Julie. I was in the middle of an important conference call so when my cell phone buzzed and I saw her name on the ID screen I sent the call to voicemail. Less than a minute later she called again and I once again sent it to voicemail a little irritated this time that she would be so insensitive. When my phone rang the third time and I saw it was again her I snapped to attention and remembered the day my dad died. I remembered how I had continued to pitch when I knew something had to be wrong and all of a sudden I was overcome by panic as I pushed the green button and said anxiously, “Hello”


“J.R., you have to come quick, it’s Trey," Julie said stuttering with panic. "He was climbing a tree and he fell and hit his head.” The fear in her voice nearly ripped my heart out. I couldn’t lose my son. “We are on our way to the hospital, he's unconscious, Oh my God J.R. Please hurry.


“I’m on my way,” I replied not taking the time to announce I was leaving my conference call. “I promise I’ll be there as fast as I can.”


As I sped towards the hospital my mind wavered back and forth between my son and my dad. I said a prayer offering my life for my son’s and then I remembered how fate had stolen my father from me and I doubted God. 


I lost all sense of time and a ride that might have only taken about ten minutes seemed interminable.  After parking illegally I ran into the hospital and, in what probably looked like a scene from a medical drama, pushed my way past the two people waiting at the nurses' station and demanded to know where my son was. In an act of true kindness, the nurse behind the counter ignored my rudeness and, after finding out my son's name, directed me to the room where he was being treated.  


It was all I could do not to burst into the room but in a moment of clarity, surrounded on both sides by life-altering fear, I understood I had to enter calmly to avoid the possibility of making things worse. 


There is nothing that can prepare a parent for what I saw as I entered the room. My ten-year-old son, my Trey, was laying in a hospital bed, unconscious, with wires all over his tiny body and a tube down his throat. My wife's mascara stained tears were flowing from her eyes as she immediately hugged me.


My mind was so full of questions but at that moment I couldn’t speak. The doctor, who was in the room with my wife and son, seemed to deduce this and began to give me an update on Trey’s condition.


“Mr. Melesky, my name is Doctor Conrad.” His voice, authoritative and compassionate, snapped me to attention. “Your son has an intracerebral hemorrhage and we are about to take him to surgery. He's a lucky young man. Many people who suffer this type of injury never make it to the hospital.” I knew the doctor was trying to give me a sense of hope but all I could think about was the people who never regained consciousness. 


“Oh my God,” I blurted out as I started to sob uncontrollably, “please tell me my son will live.”  


“We’ll do everything we can,” he responded, in a way that calmed me enough to sign the consent form and move out of the way as they wheeled my son out of the room. As he passed by I leaned down and kissed him on the forehead and said a quick silent prayer that this would not be the last time I saw my son alive.


Hospital waiting rooms are the worst place for terrified parents to wait for potentially life-destroying news. There are TVS playing shows you don’t want to watch. There are, invariably, children making a ruckus. This is usually because other parents, who are similarly too lost in fear of the worst, forget to control them. Julie and I eventually understood this was not the place for us and we made our way to the small chapel to pray for our son's life. 


As we walked through the doors the first thing I noticed was the peacefulness of it all. There were a few other people in the pews praying but there was a silence and a reverence that helped clear my head. As Julie and I sat down to pray an unusual thought entered my mind. At first, it was just a vague idea but little by little it began to crystallize; I knew what I had to do.  


“Julie I can’t explain right now, but I have to run home. I need to get something for Trey.” The request was ridiculous but I knew if I explained myself she would talk me out of it and I needed to go. To my surprise my wife, who knew me better than I knew myself, didn’t push back one iota.


“Go, do what you must. I’ll stay here and pray enough for both of us. Please be careful, though. I can’t face this without you”


I didn’t have time to thank her, I just kissed her quickly and ran to my car and sped home. Once I arrived I made a beeline for my bedroom closet where, on the shelf at the very back, there was a box that contained the glove my dad had given me all those years ago. I didn’t know why, but I knew I had to give my son this glove. I had been wrong, we were a baseball family and I didn’t want to dishonor him, or myself, or my dad by never giving my son a glove.


By the time I returned to the hospital Trey was out of surgery and in a recovery room. Doctor Conrad was cautious in his assessment of Trey's condition. “The next twelve hours are critical. If he makes it through the night then there's hope he'll make a full recovery.”


“Doc, I know this sounds crazy, but is there any chance I could put this in the bed with him?” I said as I opened the box and showed him the glove.


“Absolutely,” he responded as he patted me on the shoulder and left the room.


“What a marvelous idea,” Julie said. “I know your dad would be thrilled.” 


As I placed the glove and the bow in his bed next to his left hand I felt the spirit of my father embrace me and, for the first time since Julie’s call, I felt a small sense of peace.  


For the rest of the night, Julie and I took turns grabbing a few minutes of sleep while the other watched over Trey. At about six in the morning while Julie was sleeping I inadvertently fell asleep as well. It couldn’t have been more than 10 or 15 minutes at the most when I startled myself awake realizing my mistake. 


As my eyes cleared there was a fear that came over me. I had left him, I wasn’t there to protect him. Did I leave my son to die alone?


I jumped from the chair to check on Trey afraid of what I might find. It was then that I saw something that would change all of our lives forever. Trey’s eyes were open and, fitted on his left hand with his fingers spread as far apart as they could go, was my baseball glove, his glove. It was hard to make out because he still had a breathing tube down his throat but he was smiling at me, letting me know he was alright.  


It took two more weeks for Trey to be discharged from the hospital and a month after that before he was back to his rambunctious self, but as soon as he was physically able he and I headed to the back yard to have a catch. I know, you might be wondering how we did that since I no longer had a glove but my mom took care of the issue. On her first trip to see Trey after the accident, she brought me a gift. It was an old worn-out glove that had been sitting in her closet at home; the same glove my dad used the first time we played catch. I’d also like to report that Trey has quite a fastball. Just like his dad and mine, he’s a natural.






October 01, 2020 15:05

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131 comments

Zilla Babbitt
00:42 Oct 04, 2020

A simple and sweet story. Phrases like "somewhere he was smiling" really give your stories their distinct and unimitatable (not able to be imitated) style. Each of your stories are incredible in their own way and this is no different. Your only perceivable crime is your tendency for run-in sentences. "Three years after we were married my lovely wife gave birth to a bouncing baby boy we named Timothy William the third although from the day he was born I called him Trey" is just too much. And I suggest taking time with "killed instantly as...

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Thom Brodkin
01:29 Oct 04, 2020

As always thanks for your time, your kind words, and your constructive feedback. I do really need to work on those run on sentences. I’m not really sure why I do that. Keep my feet to the fire.

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Zilla Babbitt
21:20 Oct 04, 2020

Haha! Any time.

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Zilla Babbitt
21:20 Oct 04, 2020

Haha! Any time.

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Jonathan Blaauw
06:20 Oct 02, 2020

Hi Thom. You've done something really special here. Incredible. It feels like no words are ever going to be able to describe how powerful this story is, because it transcends words. It's all emotion. I remember watching Bambi as a kid and fighting back tears because cowboys don't cry. Similar in reading this - I had a real lump in my throat by the end. The one, overwhelming feeling I get from this is that you're finding your groove as a writer. You're a natural! I'm going to boldly predict that this is a strong candidate for shortlisting,...

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Thom Brodkin
13:27 Oct 02, 2020

I know I say it all the time but it's because it's true all the time. I am so grateful for your time, feedback, and friendship. There I said it. You have become a friend. I know you are in earnest when you give me feedback at that makes all the difference. It makes me want to be better and it lets me know I am getting there. Rest assured however that no matter how good you think I am, I think you are better. You have an effortlessness to your writing. I know it may not be that way behind the scenes but your finished products seem so ...

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Jonathan Blaauw
18:10 Oct 03, 2020

Do you realise you're approaching 100 comments on this story in less than 48 hours? That is a world record for sure! Reckon we can get it to 200 by the end of the weekend? I think so...

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Thom Brodkin
18:12 Oct 03, 2020

If we play this right we can pass Zilla for the lead on this one thread alone. 😀😀

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Jonathan Blaauw
18:17 Oct 03, 2020

I feel like that would break several federal and state insider trading laws... In other words, an excellent idea!😃

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Elle Clark
20:19 Oct 03, 2020

It’s at least an honest way of point collecting, though I think Thom is getting most of them. Also, Jonathan, I’m watching Come Dine With Me (terrible, terrible british daytime TV) and there’s a SA woman on there making milk tart for dessert!

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Jonathan Blaauw
06:15 Oct 04, 2020

You still support the Giants, all these years later Thom? Tough times for you guys... shame.

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Thom Brodkin
12:01 Oct 04, 2020

Tough times don’t last. Well for my Giants I guess they do. 😀

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Katina Foster
01:23 Oct 02, 2020

You made me teary with this story. But it's a good kind of teary. I don't think I could have handled it if Trey hadn't recovered. So, thank you for that. I love the comparison between the Kennedy assassination and the Challenger explosion with the day JR pitched a perfect game and lost his dad. It really nailed the emotion for me very succinctly. Something so unexpected and awful that it's unbelievable. I was sad when JR didn't want Trey playing baseball, so I really enjoyed the ending. In a way, that whole arc of the story is symbolic...

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Thom Brodkin
14:45 Oct 02, 2020

I am so happy you enjoyed it. I feel I owed it to you after reading your story and being touched by it. My mom used to say things happen for a reason so I'm guessing we both needed some dad nostalgia this week. I'm glad I could provide it to you and I tank you for providing it to me. I am considering updating the final line. If and when I do I'll tell you the change to see what you think. Thanks again. :-)

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Thom Brodkin
13:26 Oct 03, 2020

I changed the last line to “ Trey has quite a fastball. Just like his dad and mine, he’s a natural.” What do you think?

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Katina Foster
03:23 Oct 05, 2020

I like it! I hope you do?

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Thom Brodkin
04:24 Oct 05, 2020

I do. Thanks for the suggestion.

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23:36 Oct 01, 2020

This story is perfection. It was so emotional, I could totally picture this being a movie. I didn’t see any errors either.

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Thom Brodkin
23:42 Oct 01, 2020

You are so kind. You have me thinking about maybe writing a screen play. Thank you so much.

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11:52 Oct 02, 2020

Oh that would be amazing. You totally should!

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Jane Andrews
20:55 Oct 01, 2020

Once again, you’ve done what you do so well which is to tap into a story of everyday people and shine a light into a window on their world. As a Brit, I don’t know that much about baseball - but that doesn’t matter because you show the importance of the glove through the reminiscences of your storyteller and the bonding experience of father and son is beautiful. There’s a real poignancy too in the last game and the way that we as readers get there slightly before the storyteller in realising something’s happened to his dad, and a satisfying ...

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Thom Brodkin
21:10 Oct 01, 2020

This was exactly what I needed. You once again have made me feel better about my writing while also giving fabulous suggestions that will help me get better. I really appreciate everything you are doing to make me better.

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Elle Clark
19:28 Oct 01, 2020

Okay, I’ve composed myself. So this was excellent and the reason I had to take a moment was because it’s just so damn powerful. We have such different writing styles and I can’t imagine being able to write something as effortlessly relatable as this. It reads as a conversational recounting of traumatic events and the realism you give it with your tone makes the trauma even more impactful. The contrast of the perfect game with the anxiety and then the final reveal is very well done. I think you could emphasise the perfect game a littl...

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Thom Brodkin
20:08 Oct 01, 2020

I’m really blown away. I am not going to lie, I write to bring out emotion because I am moved by the works of others. I’m the dude sitting behind you at the theater crying at the sad parts. That being said to know the things that move me and that I write can have that affect on others is monumentally humbling and so very complimentary. Thank you for all that you’ve said. I love your suggestions. I’ll see what I can do consistent with the word count. My original submission was 2999 words but I did cut out a few. It doesn’t leave me much wiggl...

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Elle Clark
20:28 Oct 01, 2020

I literally sobbed. I had to stop, come back to it and then cry again. It was great!

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Thom Brodkin
20:31 Oct 01, 2020

I’m glad. In a good way. If that makes sense.

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Elle Clark
21:28 Oct 01, 2020

Also, have you read any of Katina Foster’s work? She’s in my follow list (my very small follow list that only has the creme de la creme) and she wrote a story called Past and Pipe Smoke this week that I think is right up your alley. Go check her out.

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Thom Brodkin
21:30 Oct 01, 2020

I am on my way to check it out. I think I’ve read her before. The name sounds familiar.

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Jonathan Blaauw
11:58 Oct 03, 2020

This is so cool!!! In my comment on Karina's story I mentioned that it reminded me of this one (Thom's) in the same, sad yet beautiful, touching way. We are genuine geniuses, you and I, thinking alike like this!

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Elle Clark
21:23 Oct 01, 2020

Yes, be glad 😊

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Elle Clark
17:39 Oct 01, 2020

Thom, I honestly have to go away for a bit and get myself together before I comment on this properly. I just wanted to let you know that I’d read it but the emotions in it are a bit much for me right now. I’ll come back and give you a proper comment later when I’ve chilled a bit.

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Thom Brodkin
17:42 Oct 01, 2020

Please take any time you need. If I’ve offended you in any way I’m so sorry. I promise it was unintentional.

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Elle Clark
17:49 Oct 01, 2020

Not even slightly - I’ve just had a bit of a week and this story just made me a little too emotional. Nothing you’ve done- I just can’t cope with parent death/potential child death right now. Xx

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Lina Oz
21:55 Oct 07, 2020

As soon as I read the first word of your story, I immediately felt nervous, because I thought, "wow, this individual is telling a large public audience a very personal and very vulnerable moment in his life––how brave!" That's how strong your narrative voice is. I didn't actually realize until I read through the comments that this is not a piece of a memoir; it's an exquisitely crafted first-person story that includes so much detail, so much fine-tuning, and so much memory that I thought I was reading a published narrative. Incredible piece....

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Thom Brodkin
23:45 Oct 07, 2020

This feedback is so kind and so helpful. I felt the same way about the last 1/3. I was running out of words and had to finish. 😀 I probably should have written to the end and went back and edited it down instead of forcing the end too soon. I am so glad I read your story. I need all the help I can get and getting to read your stories is an extra added bonus.

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Lina Oz
23:53 Oct 07, 2020

I can definitely relate to you––I struggle immensely with endings. Overall your story was just excellent and that last line was so touching. Thanks again for such kind comments––keep me updated when your next story goes up! Struggling with this week's prompts a bit.

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Thom Brodkin
00:11 Oct 08, 2020

My suggestion is when struggling, think outside the box. Take a different look at the prompts. Write something that you think no one else will try.

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Lina Oz
00:13 Oct 08, 2020

Yes––thank you for this. I'm certainly going to try! Thanks again!

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Jonathan Blaauw
15:02 Oct 07, 2020

163 comments and counting. Yay! This one is actually important, though. Did you know Laura's recent story was shortlisted? I had no idea until yesterday. She doesn't want to be 'braggy' and share the news, but my goodness, what kind of a superhero team would we be if we didn't communicate with each other? So, as the advocate of the group, I'm informing all 😀 Edit - not to imply the other comments aren't important by any means, but... you know what I mean. I hope 😂😂

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Thom Brodkin
15:10 Oct 07, 2020

Yeah for Laura, it was well deserved. By the way, since we are a team does that mean we were all shortlisted? Just a thought. Jonathan did you complete my google assignment?

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Jonathan Blaauw
15:27 Oct 07, 2020

Oh, no, I got distracted. But I'll do so immediately.

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Thom Brodkin
15:32 Oct 07, 2020

There are references only a die hard Giants fan would understand but I think the emotion comes through.

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Jonathan Blaauw
15:38 Oct 07, 2020

Thom!!!! That is incredible! Wow! I thought it was a professional sports article (I mean, it is) so I didn't even check the name of the columnist but after a few paragraphs, I knew it was you. That really is special!! But how come you claim to be a new writer, when you've been published on a major sports website? I am blown away. Truly. And here I thought you were just a normal guy. Wow!!!!

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Thom Brodkin
15:44 Oct 07, 2020

I guess I meant I was a novice at fiction/creative writing. I wrote for Bleacher Report back when anyone could. Mostly I wrote column like stories but I wanted to write about my dad because of the gift he had passed down to me. We did go to the first game in the new stadium. It was his last game he ever saw in person but honestly I think it was a perfect ending to his life's passion. I just wanted to give you a glimpse behind the curtain. I had a feeling you'd appreciate it. :-)

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Elle Clark
17:27 Oct 07, 2020

Thom already congratulated me - he got there before you because he checks my page more frequently. Not saying that makes him a better friend but...

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Jonathan Blaauw
17:35 Oct 07, 2020

A wise man once told me, "All before but is bullshit." 😂 I don't even know why I was on your page, because I wasn't really expecting a new story. Just reminiscing about the good old days, when we actually wrote lots of stories, I suppose...

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Elle Clark
17:43 Oct 07, 2020

Ah, remember then? Halcyon days.

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Jonathan Blaauw
16:08 Oct 08, 2020

I have scampered and scurried like that little squirrel in Ice Age to deliver a new story. 🐰 No rush getting to it, I'll likely only see any comments tomorrow. After a long ass day, I'm now going to watch cricket and fall asleep on the couch 😴 🦗

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Elle Clark
06:59 Oct 11, 2020

Go make an email address: Reedsy.firstname.lastname@gmail.com Let me know when you’ve done it

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01:03 Oct 07, 2020

Oh, Thom, this is incredible. The first paragraph is perfect, because the reader knows that whatever happened on the last day he played baseball was huge, but you don't give it away at first. You take the time to build up the relationship between father and son so that when we get to that last day of baseball, it hits so much harder (excuse my pun, but I can't seem to find a better turn of phrase at the moment). The pacing is excellent too, allowing you to cover a lot of ground without getting bogged down in unnecessary details. I really can...

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Thom Brodkin
12:29 Oct 07, 2020

Wow! Thank you. I have so much respect for your opinion so I am blown away by your kind words. I love to write but, like many writers, I am insecure especially when i see the quality of other authors like you. Thank you for everything. People who give their time to read and respond become part of an authors journey. Thanks for being part of mine.

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20:14 Oct 07, 2020

You're welcome! I thought I had already followed you but apparently hadn't, so now I'll see your stories in my activity feed and am looking forward to reading more.

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Kathleen March
17:56 Oct 06, 2020

a anxiety induced fog = an anxiety-induced fog instantly as was my desire = instantly, as was I send the call = sent TV’s = TVS With that out of the way, I want to say how nicely structured this story is. The narrative flows and there is a lot of sadness and worry, but you do not overpower things with that. The praying part might not be to some readers' liking, but it is used responsibly and fits into the story well. You are very good at representing emotions and challenges in the course of 'normal' lives. Well done.

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Maggie Deese
16:23 Oct 06, 2020

Just as I remember from reading this the first time, this story was absolutely gorgeous. As I was reading it, I felt like a movie was being played out before me and I was one edge waiting to see what happened next. It was emotional and powerful, leaving me with a lump in my throat as it neared the end. You commented on my story saying that you really needed to work on your descriptions and dialogue, but honestly, I saw nothing wrong in this story! The way you wrote this did not require overly detailed descriptions and I loved that about it. ...

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Thom Brodkin
16:37 Oct 06, 2020

I'm glad I was sitting down when I read this. You have made my week. I say it frequently that the talent of the person commenting adds to the weight I give the comment and you are one of the best on Reedsy. Thank you for taking the extra time. Your words make a difference.

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Lani Lane
02:24 Oct 06, 2020

Hi, Thom! You asked me to edit and here I am! :) Here's my loooong comment... First of all, great emotional read here. Loved the baseball glove that wove in and out of this story. Some easy fixes, first: 1. "In life there are monumental occurrences that act as time freezing snapshots." I think to be grammatically correct, this should technically have a hyphen: "In life there are monumental occurrences that act as time-freezing snapshots." 2. "For me, it was nothing world altering like it had been for Granddad and Mom, for me it...

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Thom Brodkin
02:28 Oct 06, 2020

These are fantastic edits. Exactly what I need. I’ll be coming to you again. 😀😀😀

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Lani Lane
02:29 Oct 06, 2020

I'm so excited to read your future stories!!! :) Keep up the fantastic work!

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Thom Brodkin
02:38 Oct 06, 2020

I was worried the second half seemed rushed but the word count kept getting to me. My first draft was exactly 3000 words. I think with your help I’ve given myself 50 or so to work with. I’ll see if I can use them wisely. 😀

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Lani Lane
02:42 Oct 06, 2020

I can ABSOLUTELY see this being a longer short story--like 10,000 words. You could look at other contests to submit that to!! Just so much to explore here, lots of great content. :)

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Molly Leasure
22:34 Oct 05, 2020

What a wonderfully heart-wrenching story! I was NOT at all expecting Trey to have an accident himself. You had me worried that he was going to die, but phew! I love the timeline approach you took, where we get to see the full history of his glove first-hand so to speak. It helps us to attach ourselves to the glove the same way he was attached to it. And I love that line: "He was killed instantly as was my desire to play baseball." That's a gut punch and a half. Well done! :) There are a couple moments where I was a little confused, for ex...

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Thom Brodkin
22:42 Oct 05, 2020

My condolences to you and your family. I pray for your peace. I thank you so much for your kind words. I’m still tweaking the parts that might be vague and I appreciate your insight. I will continue to read your work. You are very talented.

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Molly Leasure
22:51 Oct 05, 2020

As are you :). I will also continue reading your work!

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Kristin Neubauer
15:05 Oct 05, 2020

Oh, Thom - heartbreaking and heart-affirming all at once. I have been dying to see a baseball story on here (big Nats fan) and haven't been able to come up with one myself. And this - THIS - just....wow...for lack of a better word. Every week you seem to write an even more amazing story than the week before. Your talent in writing, storytelling, observing human nature is incredible.

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Thom Brodkin
15:34 Oct 05, 2020

You are a writer so you know how much it means to have another writer, especially one as talented as you are, pay such a high compliment. I can't thank you enough. I have been a baseball fan as long as I can remember, although I am a Baltimore Orioles fan (It's hard for me to admit that in public) so I guess we are baseball enemies. :-) Seriously, I love that you understood the baseball part of it and how much sports are a family tradition. It was hard to write because my dad, the person to introduce me to sports, is no longer with us....

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Kristin Neubauer
16:28 Oct 05, 2020

I am sorry about your dad, but the emotion of it really came through in this. What a tribute to him. Do you take writing classes? And do you write a lot outside of Reedsy? Are you published? I feel like I'll be seeing you on the bestseller list one day.

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Thom Brodkin
16:44 Oct 05, 2020

Thank you for your kind words about my dad and my writing. I am actually brand new to writing. For a while I wrote sports stories for a fan site called Bleacher Report, but that was more reporting than creative and I only wrote five or six stories. The first story I've ever written as a fiction was the one I submitted called "Choices". I wrote it back in May for a contest sponsored by Caprock Writers Alliance and it took second place and earned a judges choice award. It is going to be published in an anthology sometime in late November ...

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Kristin Neubauer
17:56 Oct 05, 2020

A natural talent! I love that. "Choices" was awesome - I can't wait to see where you go with all of this!

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Kristin Neubauer
20:16 Oct 05, 2020

I sent The Natural to a friend of mine. He is 80-something and loves baseball. He pitched semi-pro and I think his brother pitched in Triple A way back when. His nephew was Double A for a few years recently with the White Sox. Anyway, he loved it. Here's what he said: Thank you for thinking of me and making my day a little more special. Beautifully written and clearly the work of an athlete's mind.

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Thom Brodkin
20:21 Oct 05, 2020

Well Ms Neubauer, You have successfully done it. You have officially made the day of two people on one day. I am so blown away you took the time to share my story and even more so that you took the time to share his response with me. I already love to write but you make me love it more. Thank you!!! (The Ms Neubauer was a respect thing) :-)

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Maya W.
19:22 Oct 01, 2020

Hey Thom! This was a really sweet story! I really enjoyed it, the concept of passing down a baseball glove to a child instead of a toy and the added suspense of whether Trey would live or not. Very well done. I also chose this prompt, would you mind checking my story out, too? Thanks!

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Thom Brodkin
19:26 Oct 01, 2020

Thanks so much and absolutely. I’d be happy to.

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Maya W.
19:28 Oct 01, 2020

:)

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17:27 Oct 01, 2020

This made me cry, damnit. The story is amazing. I would run it through Grammarly to fix some of the picky stuff. Like, The Space Shuttle, shouldn't be in caps and a few other minor things. And I know I say this all the time, but read it out loud. You can hear things your eyes don't see! The story itself blew me away.

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Thom Brodkin
19:09 Oct 01, 2020

You know we have a mutual admiration society going here. 😀. I really appreciate your reading and being so kind. I say it every time because it’s true your talent makes your feedback that much more impactful.

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19:41 Oct 01, 2020

It's impossible to edit your own words unless you put them away for several years. Then when you pull them out you call them crap and start over! lol

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Thom Brodkin
20:00 Oct 01, 2020

This is soooo true. 😀😀😀😀

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20:03 Oct 01, 2020

I just ordered A Pail of Air, I can't wait to read it!

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Thom Brodkin
20:10 Oct 01, 2020

I’ve never read it. I look forward to your review. 😀

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Karen Kinley
03:32 Mar 17, 2021

Thom, You were right to ask me to read this! This is a wonderful story! Tradition, longing, shattered dreams, hope for the future. It has it all! My only critique of the story is that there are parts where you ramble a little bit. Not that the ideas aren’t good, but they could be expressed more concisely. But, really, I loved this story! I couldn’t stop reading it, and that’s what I’m looking for in any story. Your writing takes me on a little emotional journey. That’s my favorite kind.

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Thom Brodkin
12:36 Mar 17, 2021

When I tell stories at dinner parties and the like I seem to always use the phrase to make a short story long. I think I do that in my writing as well. Why use ten words when 20 will say the same thing. 😊 I always convince myself that my words are so wonderful that people want to hear as much of them as they can. Your advice is well received. I hope I can also put it into practice. Thank you for reading me and giving feedback and advice. It really means the world to me.

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Karen Kinley
12:41 Mar 17, 2021

I, too, am guilty of this which is why I notice it in other's work! I have WAY too much to say, and it shows in my writing. Also, I always feel like my role is to help other writers improve their craft, so I always offer something to make it just a little bit better. And honestly, that's all I had to offer you! I will read more! (My class ended on Monday.)

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Claire Lindsey
03:02 Mar 11, 2021

Truly a masterpiece Thom. I’m not sure that I can compose myself to give any decent kind of feedback. It’s touching, real, and bittersweetly satisfying. I love that the gloves come full circle to provide a moment of healing and joy in a lovely denouement. The prose is masterful, as is the dialogue. As my grandfather would say, just superb. If you’d like a suggestion, try ‘Born of Lightning.’ It’s rather different from most of my others but I had fun with it.

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Thom Brodkin
13:16 Mar 11, 2021

I’m so glad you enjoyed it. I got very emotional writing it. My dad was my first vest friend and I couldn’t help but think of him. I’m on my way over to read you now.

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Patricia Adele
20:56 Oct 08, 2020

Hey Thom. Excellent job again. You conveyed the character's emotions so well that I held my breath a couple of times.

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Thom Brodkin
20:58 Oct 08, 2020

Thank you. It means so much that you took the time to read and give feedback.

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Thom Brodkin
21:00 Oct 08, 2020

Reading your bio you might appreciate my story called Hope.

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Patricia Adele
16:38 Oct 09, 2020

I think I may have read that already. I'll get back to you on that. I'm definitely a Thom Brodkin fan!

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Patricia Adele
17:01 Oct 09, 2020

Hi Thom. I did read your story "Hope". It was my first. I just read "My best friend..." As I thought from the start, you have a lot of stories to tell from personal experience. Writing gives me that same outlet thou I haven't really dug in yet. Thank you for giving me the courage to dig deeper! Patricia

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