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SO WHAT’S IT WITH ME AND BASEBALLS?

想知道我和棒球的故事吗?

 

 

by Rodney E.J. Chang

 Copyright 2014 Creative Frontiers International, Inc.

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It was seventeen seasons ago that I sat in this reserved seats section of the bleachers, just above third base. It was Sunday, the start of the Chinese New Year, and college baseball and its spring season was here in Hawaii . I ran seven miles earlier with my brother Clayton and felt caught up with my personal creative projects and chores around the house. I picked up the Sunday paper’s sports section and read that the University of Hawaii baseball team was playing at 1 p.m. against Wichita State . I remember that when I was an avid fan with season tickets, the Rainbows were always beaten by the Shockers. But it didn’t matter. I felt like reminiscing the good old days, just sitting out there in the bright sun, being soothed by the island’s trade winds, as I downed a cold beer and chowed down a hot dog with all the trimmings. With my now hectic life, I looked forward to the slow-moving game of baseball in order to “smell the roses” in life.

 

大概在十七年前,我坐在棒球场看台的这个预留座位上,恰好对着下面的三垒。那天是星期天,正好是中国农历大年初

一,夏威夷的春季大学棒球赛季也在这天开始。早些时候我跟我的兄弟克雷顿跑了七英里,然后开始忙着搞我的个人创意

项目和家务事。我拿起一份周日报纸的体育版面,上面写着下午一点的棒球赛:夏威夷大学队对威奇托州队。当时我是个

狂人的季赛球迷,彩虹队总是被震颤者队打败。但是这跟我没什么关系。我只是通过看球来追忆过去。我就坐在那明亮的

太阳下,被吹过这个岛的信风轻拂着,大口喝着凉啤酒、大口吃着蘸满酱汁的热狗。我的生活太忙碌了,我很期待去看这

场慢节奏的棒球比赛,忙里偷闲地享受一下生活。

 

 

       At first, I stayed in my assigned seat higher up where it was cheaper. But later, after going for snacks, I decided to plop my body into the section below that was reserved. It was pretty empty this day so I knew nobody cared. As importantly, I wouldn’t have to climb the many steep stairs back to my designated seat way at the top, balancing my large cup of beer, along with my fries in the other hand.

 

       起初,我坐在看台上边那些便宜的座位上。但是当买完小吃后,我打算跳到前面那些预留座位上去。看台上还挺空的,而

且我觉得也没有人管。其实我这么做是因为拿了太多的小吃往上爬找原来的座位不方便,我不想把大杯的啤酒和另一只手里

的薯条弄洒。

 

 

 

In the reserved section my preferred seat was empty. So there I was, once again in the same seat (had it and the two adjacent ones reserved for many seasons) that I sat in back in 1989 when I held my first born in my arm.

 

那个在预定坐席上我最喜欢的座位是空着的。所以我又一次坐到了这个老位置上(我曾经订过这个座位和附近的两个座好

几次),这就是1989年时我抱着我出生不久的大儿子时看球的地方。

 

 

I remembered, sitting right there in that seat, how a line drive foul ball by a left hand batter suddenly came zeroing in on us. Parental protective instinct took over because, instead of dodging, I instantly stood up, held eighteen-month old Bronson away in my left arm from the projectile zooming towards us, and defiantly smacked down the sizzling ball with my free hand as it “attacked” us. In such an instant, defensive situation, I discovered that my parental brain perceived the ball as an alive, assailing creature. I recalled the loud swatting sound of impact which left a red welt in my soon to be swollen right palm. Luckily, no bones were broken.

 

我记得当时就坐在这个位置上,那个来自左撇子击球手的一记界外球直勾勾地奔着我和孩子飞来。出于本能的护子反应,

我没有躲闪,而是立刻站起身来把我左手抱着的十八个月大的儿子布隆森向左边拎开,我的右手则伸在身前,试图抵挡那

速度快得嘶嘶作响的球。保护儿子的本能让我把那个飞来的球当成了一只前来进犯的活物。我还记得球打在我右手掌上的

发出的巨响还有那次冲击留下的一块红肿。幸运的是没有伤到骨头。

 

 

 

       It was a perfect defensive play! The crowd cheered as father saves son. The operator in the upstairs booth, who operated the electronic sign above the center-field fence, keyed, “GREAT DEFENSIVE PLAY!” in blinking lights. The animation of a base runner getting tagged out didn’t matter. Everybody knew what the overall message referred to.

 

       不过那倒是次完美的防守!人群为父亲救了儿子而欢呼。那个控制着场中电子计分板的,坐在上面包厢的比赛计分员在计

分板上打字道,一次伟大的防守!几个大字在计分板上闪烁着。计分板上还显示了一个跑垒员被触杀的动画,虽然这与题

无关,在场的人都知道为什么计分板上会出现那个信息。

 

 

I felt proud, and as a nerd, even athletic. A boy brought the deflected ball to me and I placed it in my son’s little hands. It might have seemed symbolic to spectators as well as to myself. The toddler looked down at it and started to play with it, oblivious to our recent endangerment. At one-and-a-half years of age, the mind doesn’t have the comprehension or attentiveness to watch a baseball game. Then, after about only twenty seconds, the child tossed it away. It bounced down several level of seats, never to be seen again. Some kids dived for the baseball and kept it. I never found out whether Bronson threw it because he had become bored with it, or if he mimicked what he saw the players do on the field.

 

当时我感到特别骄傲。我本是个书呆子,可当时却感觉自己跟运动员一样棒。一个男孩捡起了那个打歪的球,然后走到我

身边,把它放到我儿子的小手里。这个球对观众和我一样都有着象征意义了。孩子看着手里的球然后摆弄起来,完全不顾

刚刚发生的危险事件。对于一个一岁半大的孩子,他的思想还不够成熟到来把注意力集中到棒球比赛上。二十秒之后,他

把球扔了。它弹跳着滚下前面的座位,消失在视野中。几个孩子趴下去找球然后把它纳入囊中。我不知道布隆森把球扔了

是出于腻味呢,还是他在模仿场上的球员投球。

 

 

 

Now here I sat again, feeling a bit guilty that I was sitting in a higher priced seat that I hadn’t paid for. But no guilt that a cold beer couldn’t eliminate. The Rainbows were down 1-4, now in the 5th inning. They had lost the previous game, 4-10.

 

现在我又坐在这里,对我没有花高价付这个座位的钱略感罪恶。可是没什么罪恶是一杯凉啤酒不能消灭的。现在是第五

局,彩虹队14落后。他们已经输掉了之前的比赛,比分是410

 

 

      A paperback novel, “Roswell One,” that dealt with UFOs and Roswell , New Mexico , was in my blue jean side pocket. (I was preparing to write my first sci-fi novel.) Later that day after I returned home from the ballpark, I remembered how in Vegas my wife had said it was the Roswell baseball cap and Roswell inscribed t-shirt that I wore that brought me bad luck. Not at the casino but in the Las Vegas Marathon. I didn’t complete the marathon because I ran the wrong way (misled by runners on the route for co-participating half-marathoners). I joked with friends that I was abducted (by aliens). That was just two months prior to coming to today’s ball game. Now again I possessed a Roswell item on me, but didn’t expect anything bad to happen, except that, yeah, the home team was going to lose again. Twice, both ends of a doubleheader.

 

      我的蓝色牛仔裤侧兜里装着一本平装书小说《罗斯维尔一号》,讲述的是新墨西哥州罗斯维尔的UFO事件的。(当时我正

准备写我的第一部科幻小说。)有一天稍晚时候我从球场回到家里,突然想起在拉斯维加斯时我的妻子曾说过我穿着的印着

罗斯维尔的棒球帽和T恤衫会带来坏运气。并不是在拉斯维加斯的赌场里,而是当地的马拉松比赛。那次我没有完成比赛,因

为跑错了道(我被路上那些跑着玩的半途马拉松选手误导了)。我跟朋友们打趣道说我被绑架了(自然是被外星人了)。那

正好是来看这场比赛的两个月之前。现在我身上又带着一样跟罗斯维尔有关的物品,但是我却没觉得有坏事要发生,哦对

了,也许有一件坏事,那就是主队要看起来又要输了。两次,主客场双重赛皆败。

 

 

 

But suddenly it felt like déjà vu! A left-handed batter had just launched a missile straight at me! Unlike the past, this time I was frozen, almost from disbelief. No child this time in my arm to trigger parental instinctive defenses, but instead, a bag of french fries in one and a large cup of beer in the other. And now, at 61, my reflexes were gone.

 

可当时突然袭来了一种既视感。一个左撇子击球手恰好朝我打出了直直的一球!不像上次那样,这次我在不可置信的思绪

中僵住了。这次我怀里没有孩子来激发我的护子本能,有的只是左手里的一袋炸薯条,右手里的一大杯啤酒,而且我已经

61岁了,我的反应速度早就没了。

 

 

 

There was no time to put my food and drink down, and I refused to drop them (especially the beer I just purchased). I remember the sense of bewilderment – that of all 2,000 fans in the large park, a ball chose me as its target. Again!

 

没时间来放下手中的吃喝,我也不想把它们扔掉(尤其是刚买的啤酒)。我记得那一瞬间的困惑感——一个坐了两千个球

迷的大球场,这球就单单奔来了。还不是第一次!

 

 

I also recalled thinking, Everybody’s watching me- again- to see how I react - in the next split second!

 

我又回忆起了上一次时脑中所想,所有人都在看我,又一次,看我下一秒如何反应!

 

 

 

I felt I was on stage with an audience on the edge of their seats. And I knew they’d see I didn’t “bring my game,” this time around.

 

我感觉自己站在一个舞台上,所有的观众都翘首以待。我感觉他们知道我这次要玩完了

 

 

With the swift ball closing in, at about ten feet I judged it was going to get me. If it was a direct hit, I speculated it would bash me in the face. But now I was not quick enough to reflexively duck or block with a hand. They both were clenched, carrying refreshments.

 

那个球快速地向我接近,到了大概离我十英尺左右的时候我确定它肯定要打中我了。如果是一记直击,我觉得它肯定要拍

在我的脸上。但是我现在已经不能灵活地蹲下或者用手格挡。我的两只手紧握着小吃,不肯松开或移动。

 

 

 

I felt like a deer paralyzed in the middle of the road by fast approaching headlights. Or was I just having a “senior moment?”

 

我感觉自己像一只被公路上快速行驶的汽车撞瘫的鹿。或者我只是感觉在那一刻变得老不中用了?

 

 

The comedic scene of french fries flying all over the place and beer splashing on my face, causing people to roar with laugher - at me, flashed in my mind’s eye. Not my life, which was reassuring.

 

炸薯条四处乱飞,啤酒溅了我一脸,人们肯定会朝我狂笑不止。这喜剧般的场景在我脑中闪过。不过令人欣慰的是,它名

没有成真。

 

 

The projectile coming in at high velocity was about two feet from my face - when I finally managed to order some muscles to lean me to the left. That was just enough to make the hardball miss my face – Whew!

 

那个飞来的球速度是如此之快,大概在离我的脸两英尺的时候,我终于对我的肌肉发出指令,让身体向左边倾斜。这刚好

使我的脸躲开那个硬邦邦的球——

 

 

 

But then – “Whack!”

 

可然后——“啪嚓!

 

 

       My head jolted forward from the force of the ball as it ricocheted off the concrete platform only two feet behind me (on which the next row of seats were elevated higher), and blasted me in the back of my skull. The force was probably the same as getting hit directly (but in the back instead of the front of the head), considering the loss of energy absorbed by the wall was replaced by the ball’s compression and immediate acceleration from colliding with the surface. From the extreme velocity, the loud thud (inside my head too), and the stadium-loud, unified “OH!!!!!!!,” I too expected the worse. Maybe a fractured skull? Or at least a concussion? Possibly with some internal hemorrhaging on the side?

 

       我的头由于球的力量向前猛颤,因为那球打在了我身后两尺左右的水泥平台上(后面的那排坐要高出一些),然后啪地打

在了我的后脑勺上。这股力量可能跟直着打来差不多(不同的是打的是我的后脑而不是前额),虽然一部分能量被墙吸收

了,可由于反弹产生的加速度又使球高速打在我头上。那极快的速度,连同碰撞时轰的一声巨响(也在我脑袋里回响着),

再加上体育场内观众大声、齐声的噢!!!!,这一切向我扑来。我做了更坏的打算。也许我的头骨要被打裂了?或者至少

也要脑震荡吧?再或者要有一些颅内出血?

 

 

 

It hurt at the moment of impact. It felt like getting hit on the head with a baseball bat. My head jetted forward at least six inches from the impact.

 

 

撞击的那一瞬间真的很疼。感觉跟被棒球棍打了头一样。我的头因为撞击至少向前倾了大概六英寸。

 

 

 

But for some strange reason, I was uninjured!

 

可是真奇怪啊,我居然没有受伤!

 

 

Pain exploded inside my head, but I hadn’t collapsed from my seat. The crowd went silent, totally confused – like I was.

 

痛楚在我的头上爆裂开来,可是我却没有从座位上跌倒。人群陷入了寂静,所有人都迷糊了——我也一样。

 

 

Blinking as if to clear the cobwebs, I was surprised that I was still conscious.

 

我眨着眼睛,仿佛它们能理清思绪,我还保持着意识,这太令人惊奇了。

 

 

A young woman came dashing across the aisle. I thought she was coming over to assist me (maybe a nursing student?) and I was ready to tell her, “I’m okay.” But instead, without even an “excuse me,” she dived between and under my legs to snatch the ball, with her big buttocks sticking up close to my slumping dazed face, to fetch the ball that was under my seat.

 

一个年轻的女人匆匆向过道赶来。我当时以为她是来帮我的(可能是个护理学学生?)我正打算告诉她,我没事。可是

她连一句打扰一下,都没说,就趴到我腿下去够那个球,她撅起的大屁股对着我失落而迷茫的脸。

 

 

Even in a stunned state of mind, peering at her wiggling butt inches from my face, I remember thinking, I hope she doesn’t fart.

 

我那惊愕的脑海对着几英寸外她那蠕动屁股挤出一个想法,我希望她别放屁。

 

 

     Having secured her prize, without a word or look at me, she scampered back to her seat. Her heavy male friend, holding a large beer, high-fived the successful retriever. Together they were all smiles.

 

      拿到了她的战利品之后,她一句话也没说,连看都没看我一眼,快速地走回了她的座位。她那五大三粗的男性朋友一手端

着大杯啤酒,一手跟这个得球者拍手示意。然后他们哈哈地笑着。

 

I heard someone in the crowd shout, “Aw, give the guy the ball, ...bitch!”

 

我听到人群中有人喊道,靠,把球还给那个家伙,……臭婊子!

 

 

Not that I wanted it. What would I do with it? Brag how this is the ball that smacked me silly?

 

我可不想要那球。我要它又有什么用呢?跟人吹牛说就是把我砸傻的那个球吗?

 

 

 

Some fans were now booing. Not that she cared. I later judged that woman as the type of person who would not bother to stop and render aid to someone she saw hit by a car on the highway.

 

一些球迷发出了嘘声。她一点都不在意。后来我觉着她就是那种看到高速路上有人被车撞了都不屑停车的人,让她伸出援

手更是不可能了。

 

 

Looking down, I was thankful that my fries and drink were still intact! Considering the blow I had just taken, it was amazing how everything was not strewn all over the aisle. Till this day, I still can’t figure out how the heck the drink stayed in the cup and the fries remained intact in the sack. I must have really wanted to have that cold beer (that I had just bought) and down those salt and ketchup-covered fries.

 

望了望我手中的吃喝,我的薯条和啤酒居然都安然无恙。想想我挨的那一记,没把吃喝扔得满地都是真是奇迹啊。直到今

天我仍然想不通那杯子里的酒还有薯条是怎么老老实实呆在原地的。当时那杯凉啤酒喝那袋蘸满盐粒和番茄酱的薯条一定

是把我的吃货精神勾出来了。

 

 

 

A couple seconds later, a stadium attendant came up to me and said,

 

几秒钟之后,一个体育场的工作人员走到我身边说,

 

 

 

“Are you okay? There’s a nurse downstairs.” That’s how bad it looked.

 

你没事吧?我们那有个护士。我当时看起来一定糟透了。

 

 

 

       “I’m okay,” I answered, nonchalantly taking a sip from my beer to demonstrate to the still gawking crowd that I was indeed unharmed, in fact, cool, acting like nothing had happened (when a better man, against the girl, would have darted and make a play for the ball). I was glad I wore my cap’s visor low and had dark glasses on, to conceal my embarrassment.

 

       我没事,我回答道,漠不关心地喝了一小口我的啤酒来示范呆立的人群我的确没有受伤。我觉得这么做挺酷的,就像什

么事都没发生一样(一个大绅士应该向那女孩跑过去并且追那个球)。我很高兴当时帽檐低压着,而且我还带着墨镜,这就

掩饰了我尴尬的表情。

 

 

 

I remember thinking, I’m lucky I didn’t get a fractured skull but, from that kind of force, I can expect a big lump later. But moments later, it occurred to me that it didn’t even hurt anymore.

 

当时我想道,我真幸运啊,居然脑袋瓜还在,那种力道可是不小的,可能我头上要起个大包了。可事实是我一点伤都没

受。

 

 

Nobody has that thick a skull!

 

没人能有那么硬的脑瓜壳啊!

 

 

I reached for the spot in the back of my head where the ball collided. My finger went straight to the back of my baseball cap where the adjustment metal buckle was situated.

 

我的手摸着脑袋后被球撞击的地方。手指直直地触到了我的棒球帽后面那里的调松紧的金属扣。

 

 

 

The ball had hit that tiny brass plate of the cap!

 

那个球居然打到了那个小小的铜扣子上!

 

 

Several layers of extra strap length folded through the small attachment, excess for my head size. The cap was well made with a double-layered fabric with thick cord-like thread that constructed the rim of the hat. The buckle rested upon this reinforced border trim of the cap.

 

那个扣子周围有几层额外的带子包裹着它,因为我的头太小了不得不把带子掖到松紧扣里。这个帽子做工良好,双层的面

料周围围着硬质的材料,构成了帽子的外檐。那个松紧扣就在那加固外檐的上边。

 

 

The projectile had hit the tiny 1/2”x1/2” metal buckle with four layers of fabric wrapped through it. The stray ball had rocketed off the bat, over a hundred feet away, to tag the tiny, adjustment buckle of my cap. Imagine that. Talk about good fortune! That baseball cap might have saved my life.

 

那个飞来的球击中了这个半英寸见方的、被面料裹起来的扣子。那个迷途的球被球棒击飞,飞了一百多英尺,然后打中了

那个小小的松紧扣。想象一下那场景吧。这是多大的好运啊。那个棒球帽救了我的命啊。

 

 

 

Turns out the cap was RED (good luck to Chinese), with golden lettering (good luck to Chinese), and embroidered with “USC – DAD.” It was the first time that I wore this Christmas present from my son Bronson. I had unwrapped it only three and a half months prior while he watched, home for the holidays, during his first year at the University of Southern California . Turns out, like the education received from the famed institution, the baseball cap also was of quality and expensive.

 

那个帽子是红的(中国人讲的好运色),带着金色的字母(同样是中国人的好运色),字母绣成“USC-DAD”。这是我第一

次戴这个被我的儿子布隆森当做圣诞礼物送给我的帽子。我在看那场比赛的三个月半前才刚刚把它拆包,当时他正回家度

假,那是他在南加州大学的第一年。这个帽子就是他从那个好名声的大学得到的赠品,跟那个大学一样,这帽子的质量和

价格大概也是首屈一指的。

 

 

I can’t help think of the paradox of it all - I saved my boy from an errant sizzling baseball years ago, and now his gift returned the favor! Both times while sitting in the same seat! I can’t thank Bronson enough (who wants to be in the hospital with a fractured skull?).

 

我无法停下来想着这整件事的悖论性:我在多年前从一个飞速而来的棒球下救了我儿子的命,然后呢,他回赠给我这件礼

物!而且两次都是在这同一个位置上!我不知如何感谢布隆森(有人想带着个碎裂的头骨躺在医院里吗?)。

 

 

 

I also can’t help but wonder how there exist phenomena in this world that we aren’t aware of or will ever understand. Or maybe, it was merely divine intervention or my guardian angel. But then again, it could have been sheer luck. Whatever the reason, it wasn’t my “time” yet. Whatever the reason, I am very grateful.

 

我也无法停下来想这世界上有多少我们无法理解的奇迹。也许这是天意的干扰,或者是我的守护神的神迹。不管怎样,我

当时确实是有顶好的运气。不管是什么原因,我命不该终。不管是什么原因,我都充满感激。

 

 

And next time I’ll sit somewhere else. Or pay for the reserved seat.

 

或者,下次我应该换个座位。或者那份预订座位该缴的钱。

 

 

       A final thought – I remember before I left the house for the game, trying to decide whether to wear the pristine USC cap or the hard-luck Roswell one that I wore in the failed marathon. They hung next to each other on hooks next to the front door. What if I had selected the Roswell ? It has a mere elastic band (with no metal buckle) in the back.

 

       最后的想法 - 我记得当离开家去看比赛的时候曾经犹豫是戴这顶崭新的USC帽呢,还是那顶让我马拉松失败、带来坏运气

的罗斯维尔帽呢。它们被一起挂在前门附近的墙钩上。如果我当时选择了罗斯维尔帽又会怎么样呢?它后面可是没有金属

扣,只有一个松紧带啊。

 

 Truly Virtual Web Art Museum