Curveball: Chapter 12| April 7, 2021
About one hour, a few X-rays, and one soda can later, Rafi was finally able to get some answers
"Ow!” Rafi screamed from the bottom of the heap of boys. “My arm! Get off of my arm!”
Yehuda and Gavi untangled themselves and got up.
Coach Kahan, the coach for the Bears, and the umpire ran toward the three players.
“Boys, are you all okay?” the umpire asked.
“I’m okay, I think,” said Gavi, as he rubbed his shoulder.
“Me, too,” said Yehuda.
Rafi didn’t respond. He was still lying on the ground, holding his arm, and moaning softly. As Rafi tried to stand, he suddenly screamed in pain.
“Slow down, Rafi. Let me help you up,” said Coach Kahan. Rafi winced as he got up with the coach’s assistance. “Okay, let’s head over to the bench. Nice and slow, buddy.”
Rafi walked slowly to the bench, cradling his right arm. His parents ran over to meet him. As soon as Rafi’s mother asked him if he was okay, Rafi burst out crying. Rafi’s parents led him to the parking lot so they could speak to him in private.
“Rafi, can you move your arm? Does it hurt a lot?” asked Mrs. Marcus.
Rafi looked up at his parents with tears in his eyes and said, “I think I broke it.”
“Well, what do we have here?” asked a cheerful nurse in the emergency room. “Hmm,” she said, tapping the side of her face, “a boy in a grass-stained baseball uniform, clutching his arm… I’m going to guess you hurt yourself while surfing, am I right?”
Rafi looked back at the nurse in disbelief. “You’re joking, right?” he asked.
“I got it wrong? I guess I’m not cut out to be a detective after all. Good thing, I’m a nurse!” she responded with a smile. “Usually, the kids at least crack a smile at my jokes. I guess I’m losing my touch. Either that or your arm really hurts you.”
“Yeah, my arm definitely hurts,” said Rafi. “Can you tell me if it’s broken?”
“Sure thing, let me just get some information from your parents while this nice man over here takes you to get an X-ray,” the nurse said as she waved over another nurse.
“By the way, did your team win the game?” asked the nurse.
“I don’t think so,” said Rafi miserably.
About one hour, a few X-rays, and one soda can later, Rafi was finally able to get some answers.
“Well, young man,” said a kindly looking older doctor in a white lab coat. “I’ve just looked over your X-rays and it seems that you’ve broken your wrist.”
“I figured,” replied Rafi glumly.
“There’s good news and there’s bad news. The good news is that you won’t need surgery. The bad news is that you’ll need a cast for four to six weeks.”
“Four to six weeks?” asked Rafi. “That’s such a long time! What am I going to do about Little League?”
“Well, I guess you’ll just be watching from the side lines for the next few weeks. But since you’re a righty, you probably won’t be able to take any notes or tests in school either. See? There’s always a silver lining!” chuckled the doctor.
Rafi didn’t laugh at the doctor’s joke. He also didn’t smile when the doctor asked him if he wanted a pink cast.
“Okay, Rafi,” Mr. Marcus said as Rafi and his parents left the hospital. “What do you want to do to cheer yourself up? Go out to eat? Pick out a new board game at the toy store? Your choice. It’s your day, Rafi, whatever you want.”
“I just want to go home and go to sleep,” said Rafi. “Wake me up in four to six weeks.”
“Well, how about we swing past Meir and Shmuli’s houses and pick them up on our way home? Their parents left me messages asking about you. Your friends are worried about you,” said Mrs. Marcus.
“Okay, sure, I guess,” mumbled Rafi.
Rafi sat on his bed with his cast propped up on some pillows. Shmuli and Rafi sat on the floor with a plastic bag in front of them.
“What’s in the bag?” asked Rafi.
“First tell us what the doctor said,” demanded Shmuli.
“He said my life is over.”
“Come on, Rafi, what did he really say?” asked Meir, smiling.
“He said that I can’t play baseball while I have my cast and that I need to wear it for four to six weeks.”
“Oh man,” responded Meir. “I’m sorry, Rafi.”
“Does your arm still hurt?” asked Shmuli.
“Not so much,” said Rafi. “But it’s really itchy. Now, show me what’s inside the bag!” ordered Rafi, showing his first sign of enthusiasm all afternoon.
Shmuli and Meir showed Rafi the care package they had managed to put together while Rafi was at the hospital. It included markers so everyone could sign his cast, some comic books, a new card game that some of the boys at school had been raving about, and a bag of homemade chocolate chip cookies.
“Thanks, guys, you’re good friends,” said Rafi as he passed around the bag of cookies.
When Rafi, Shmuli, and Meir had finished every last crumb, Shmuli suggested that they play the game they had brought.
“You’re on,” responded Rafi.
A few hours later, Rafi was feeling almost back to his old self.
“Hey, Rafi, sorry to cut this short, but I have to go home and finish up some homework,” said Shmuli.
“But we didn’t have any homework,” protested Meir.
“Well, not officially,” explained Shmuli. “But every Sunday, I like to review my notes from the week before and rewrite them.”
“Well, enjoy torturing yourself. I mean, reviewing your notes,” joked Rafi.
Rafi and Meir walked Shmuli to the front door.
“Hey, Rafi, who’s that?” asked Meir, as they all noticed a man getting out of a car parked right in front of Rafi’s house.
“That’s funny,” said Rafi. “That’s Coach Kahan. I wonder what he’s doing here.”
“Well, I guess that means it’s time for me to go, too,” said Meir as he ran down the front steps. “See you at school!”
“Hey, Coach!” Rafi called out as he waved to Coach Kahan.
“Hey, Rafi! I just stopped by to see how you’re doing,” responded Coach.
“Oh, thanks,” replied Rafi, blushing a little. “That’s so nice of you.”
“Mind if we sit down here on these steps?” asked Coach. They sat down and Coach looked at his cast.
“Nice color choice. You look good in blue,” joked Coach. “Listen, Rafi, I’m sure your doctor doesn’t want you playing baseball for a while, right?”
“Yup. For at least four weeks. Maybe even six. I guess I won’t be seeing you or the team for a while.”
“Sorry, Rafi, I know that will be hard on you,” said Coach. “But I want you to know that just because you can’t play doesn’t mean you can’t still come to the practices and games. Listen, Rafi, you’re still an important part of the team, whether you’re playing or not. Remember how much you helped the boys out at the first practice? You can still give them tips and encouragement even while you have that cast on.”
“I guess so, Coach,” Rafi replied. “But I want to play baseball, not just watch it.”
“I get that, Rafi. But remember, everything Hashem does is for the good. Let’s try to find something positive from this whole experience. I’m not going to force you, but I think it would be really good for you and the team if you still came to practices and games, Rafi. What do you think?”
to be continued…
(Originally featured in Mishpacha Jr., Issue 855)
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