On Stealing Second Base

When stealing second base, make your upper body evaporate while your lower limbs thin into twin javelins. Commit yourself totally to this risk then run as fast as you can, straight ahead. Don’t look back. Launch yourself into space just as you near the base; the final leg of this journey is a leap of faith. Lean back, hug the earth, hit the dirt like a flat stone skimming the surface of a lake. Sometimes, dissemble. Slide to one side of the bag and hook it with your foot as you pass. Perplexing your opponent is never a mistake. As you fall, throw your arms into the air—time to surrender and say one last prayer. You’ve had your chance and taken it. You’ve left everything behind to find the next safe place, however precarious. The outcome is out of your hands.

Nothing gives life more zest than running for your life

science fiction author Robert Heinlein quipped. Just so, the act of stealing second base makes it wholly your own. No one asks you to give it back. Stand up, brush off the dirt, and look around. You’re already halfway home.

This abbreviated essay originally appeared in the October issue of Ode, on newsstands now.