By Mark Hendricks
Patrick’s was a good team that year. Three or four star players. Several more who, like Patrick, were solid, steady and took well to good coaching. The brightest star on the team was Kevin. He could play any position. His glove was a vacuum cleaner on defense. On the mound, he threw nothing but strikes. He was a terrific hitter with a beautiful swing. And on the base paths, he was simply the fastest kid in the city. Kevin won ballgames for us that year. Several, in fact.
Kevin had only one bad game all year. That was the same night Patrick had perhaps his best game ever. Patrick’s stars were aligned that night. The kid was everywhere. He was playing first and there were two on and two out. The batter hit a screaming liner well over his head, but ol’ Patrick’s cleats musta had wings that night. Michael Jordan in his prime may not have been able to get up for that ball, but, somehow, Patrick did. When he came down, he looked in his glove in disbelief. The ball was there. On the way to the dugout, his teammates whacked his butt, punched his shoulder, smacked the back of his head.
Jeez, it must hurt to be a star, I thought.
The child of a Marine Corps officer, Mark grew up on the move. A barefoot childhood on the beaches of Oahu, coming of age in the Commonwealth of Virginia, Mark made his way through five universities before settling in as a Texas State University Bobcat. He was a news, crime and sports reporter as well as news editor for the Laredo News, and served time at the San Marcos Daily Record. After a decade or so in the newspaper business, he went into higher education communications, and has spent almost a quarter-century back at Texas State, where he is now the Director of the University News Service.