Endowed in perpetuity by the Glenna Luschei Fund for Excellence

3:33 Sports Short #52 // Two measures of 90 feet by Christine Pivovar

After front page photos in The Kansas City Star

1. October 29, 2014

Alex Gordon’s hands crossed atop a tar-smeared helmet. The once and future captain, held up and halted. Smudge of ruddy dirt on his right hip and above the letters over his scapula. Muscles taut in the neck, downturned in front of a wall of blue-clad faces. Cinderella on the front stoop with broken glass in her hands.

Never forget the pain you feel in this moment. A most exquisite, diamond-shard sadness. Because just for one moment the belief held—a crack in the resounding no, of leather against tarry pinewood: One mistake. Another mistake. The rule of three, surely? But something raises Jirschele’s hands, universal halt sign from the coach at third base. The aerodynamics of a three-inch orb versus the landspeed of an extraordinary human, turning a corner. Mathematics against the incalculable human capacity for error, and here science—the belief in science—wins out and leaves us forever wondering what might—

2. November 1, 2015

Eric Hosmer risen to his feet. Mouth open in a Dothraki roar. Gloved hands clenched, a golden-shoed foot lifted in triumphant stomp. The catcher’s helmet drifted and rocking on the ground. Bright lights flooding an artificial, big city day.

A ritual of sequence—bat to ball, foot to bag—a philosophy hardened by the shard of glass in the heart. This time, physics too… but. A study of human weakness and a gamble on the side of imperfection. The opponents’ aging muscles, adrenaline, aim. Maybe some recklessness, an Achilles-before-the-arrow invincibility. The fact that this isn’t the second, third or fourth impossible thing to happen this month. This week, even.

A chopper to third. Divided attention. Headfirst slide, blue-sleeved arms hitting the dirt. A ball catching an updraft, sailing far over and wide of where it’s meant to go. He pops up with a mad gleam in the eye. The return home as forever changed.

Christine Pivovar is a fiction writer and reviewer whose work has appeared in The Southeast Review, Hot Metal Bridge, and The Kansas City Star. She lives in Kansas City, where she works for a software company and obsesses over the Royals and Sporting KC.