Friday, March 17, 2006

The Balk (Part II)


I tried to set the stage for our discussions but Goldie kept interrupting to ask about Shawn's progress over the last few outings.

And then Goldie turned to the father and asked, "You have to let me know that if we take Shawn in the third round that he'll sign. You need to give me something that I can take back to the club."

Huh? What about me? I'm the scout here. Not him. Who gave him the right to ask this question? I was stunned. It had to be the work of Donald DeSear and Logan Cooper. I couldn't get the air over my vocal cords to cut him off.

Without hesitation the father answered, "Son, you can take him whenever you want. But if he don't git a signing bonus of at least $700,000, he ain't signing. That's what the other fella who just left an hour ago said he'd give us."

That had to be a lie. We were getting played by a cagy cotton farmer. Not only was it high for a third round prospect, no scout would come out and promise a specific dollar amount. Check that . . . at least most scouts would not come out and promise a specific dollar amount. Unfortunately, Goldie fell right into the cotton gin and responded, "Then I guess we'll have to pay him $750,000."

"Works for us," the father stated while extending his hand over to Goldie's as if some sort of deal had been struck.

That was my cue to interrupt. "And I suppose Mr. Bankman that you also shook the other fella's hand who promised the $700,000. Time to go Seth. We've taken enough of this family's valuable time." I got up from the table and made my way through the kitchen. I could hear Goldie apologizing to Shawn and his father as he wheeled himself from the table and followed behind me. My anger towards Goldie turned to rage with each apology given. I couldn't wait to get out to his special van and read him the riot act.

I was moving so fast that I practically took the hinges off their kitchen door. Goldie was struggling to keep up. As soon as he hit the ramp, however, I heard his wheels start to skid. Unfortunately the dampness of the night air lined the wooden ramp with a slippery dew. Although his wheels were locked up, his chair went skidding down the ramp out of control. I was barely able to jump out of the way when he crashed sideways onto the ground throwing him a good six feet from his chair.

I was scared to death. But Goldie immediately began to use his hands to crawl over to his overturned chair. His legs were withered and lifeless. I looked back up at the family expecting some help but all I saw was a smirk coming from the father and then eventually a laugh. The mother also began to laugh and then the kids followed suit. Even Shawn.

My rage towards Goldie was quickly replaced by my rage towards this family. I offered to help Goldie but he quickly dismissed me. He wanted to show everyone he could handle it himself. So there I stood, watching him struggle to upright the chair and to pull himself back up into it. Almost back, his hand suddenly slipped and he fell back to the ground. More laughter and finger pointing. Like they were at the circus or something.

It took me back to a day when I remember my own son falling off his bike and watching the neighborhood kids laugh at him. I ran out of my house so fast to pick him up. He was all bloodied and bruised but nothing could compare to how hurt he was in his heart that his "so-called" friends laughed at him. When he started to cry, I knew it wasn't because of the cuts and scrapes. I was so angry with those kids for laughing at him. And my feelings toward the Bankman's weren't much different.

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