Chapter 6 – February 4F

“This drill is about focus, and peripheral vision.” Coach Dan continued twirling the sock in front of the hand holding the tennis ball. “Your eyes are better able to see movement around the edges, instead of straight on.”

“It’s like baseball.” Big Paul was an outfielder on the Bark Bay High School team. “The hardest fly ball to judge, is the one hit straight at you.”

“Very good.” Coach Dan returned his focus to Butch. “All I want you to do — is take the ball.”

“While you’re spinning the sock?”

“Yes, Butch.”

“Oh! So am I allowed to look at the sock, or is that cheating?”

“It’s not cheating, but if you look at the sock, how are you going to get the ball?”

“Oh!” Butch scratched his head. “But if I don’t look at the sock, how can I stop it from hitting me?”

The Bird stepped forward, her soft feet not hitting the tiled cafeteria floor loud enough to cover Annie’s groan, and said she would like to try. Unable to conceal his relief, Coach Dan waved her forward. She stood in front of him, Butch to her left, the rest of the fencing squad looking on as Coach Dan twirled the sock, holding the ball. The Bird studied his hand for one, two, three sock twirls — then snatched her hand forward, grabbed the ball, the sock hitting her on the under side of her arm as she pulled her arm back.

“A little late, but you get the idea.”

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