Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Microstory 1817: Vector

A lot of people think I’m a dumb meathead, but just because I was good at sports doesn’t mean I didn’t exercise my brain. I’m actually really smart and well-read, but I chose not to go to an Ivy League school, because my family didn’t have the money for it. Of course now we know that I could have taken out loans, and had them paid off after my first vector season, but we couldn’t run that risk. Besides, I ended up becoming a professional vector player because of a series of events in my life, starting with birth, and being admitted to my state school somewhere in the middle. So no, I don’t walk around with that prestige, but I’m happy with my choices, and you can’t argue with the results. There was a reason that I did so well in sports. I possessed a naturally high degree of precision. I could hit or throw a ball exactly where I wanted it to go, at least as long as it was within an acceptable range. I didn’t have all that much strength, so yeah, I could throw it towards the moon, but it would never reach it. I did not exactly choose Vector so much as it chose me. I liked to play a lot of different sports, but when it became clear which one was on the path of least resistance, I took my opportunity. I worked really hard to show the scouts that I had what it took to do this for real. I could play every position, but I was mostly a grabber. For those who don’t know, the grabber is the one that’s blindfolded much of the time. I had to take direction from the caller, and find the balls scattered throughout the field. At that point, I could remove my blindfold, and pass it to the wielder. I did things a little differently, and built up a nice reputation.

Here’s the thing, the opposing team’s jacker is watching you at all times, and as soon as they see your eyes, they know you have a ball, and they come after you. If they reach you before you can pass the ball, you lose that ball, and have to find it all over again, and good hiders do not make that easy. That’s why I just never took my blindfold off. It’s a strategy that had never been employed until then, and one that no player replicated quite as well after I started it. Man, I knew where my wielder was, and the jackers, and even the shielders, even though I didn’t need to know that information. I kept my ear on the whole game, and could give you the play-by-play later even though my eyes were covered the whole time, and I was busy with my own job. I could covertly pick up that ball, and toss it over before anyone could stop me. I was sneaky about it too, sometimes pretending to have a ball when I didn’t. If a jacker tags you, and your pocket is empty, they incur a penalty, so they better be right. They learned to be real careful when I was on the other side, but it still didn’t usually do them any good. Yeah, I was a great player, but like all good things, it was destined to come to an end. My game partner, the caller, was my best friend. We had to have a good relationship, and a secret language, in order to communicate effectively without anyone else knowing what was going on. One night, he took me to dinner to tell me that I ought to think about stepping down, and letting a new generation take over. It was tough, being told that it was time for me to leave. I felt like I had a few good years in me. I chose to go through with it, and I think my fans respected my decision. Looking back, I'm grateful for the honesty, and wish I had told him as much. I loved being the star of the show, but he was right. There were so many great kids whose chances I was stealing just by sticking around. I kept enough money to live comfortably, then gave the rest to charity. I never married, nor had kids.

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