School, he thought. Life was so easy in college, even for a chronic school-bouncer like him. A few struggles with that pesky SAT landed him at a community college before transferring to Kentucky State with the intent to walk-on as a baseball player. Catcher, to be exact. KSU had good pitchers, he could shine as a catcher and possibly make it as a Major League Baseball player before graduating.

Two phone conversations with the head coach gave him the confidence and the details he needed — tryouts were held during the first week of the semester. He moved into the dorm on Day One and after a quick bite to eat headed straight to the baseball offices in Commonwealth Stadium. One of the assistants delivered the devastating news to him, that tryouts, in fact, were held the week before the semester started and their roster was set for the upcoming academic year. No apology for misleading information, no explanation time was granted, just “Thanks, we’re all set, sorry ’bout your luck.”

Apparently, the head coach was one of those passive-aggressive managers and didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings by suggesting they weren’t good enough to make the team (after nothing more than phone conversations). So, dismissing the possibility that someone might attend his university based entirely on the chance to tryout for the baseball team, he gave false information about the tryout date and eliminated the chance of him having to deal with conflict. The coach would rather be known as a liar.

Already enrolled and already moved in, another year of transferable classes filled up his transcript. He finished his stint at KSU and then moved on to an NCAA Division III school in Eastern Pennsylvania, Buckulata University. He attended tryouts in the first week of the semester and, to his surprise, wasn’t in quite the same physical shape he was in two years prior. He was still a fence buster, but his knees couldn’t handle the bending like they used to and he never developed a solid infield game. Relegated to academia once again, he settled in as a business major, taking advantage of Buckulata’s hallmark of “Personalized academic attention.”

“Ah, college,” he responded. “Where did you go, Pace? Columbia, Hunter, Mercy?” he asked, proud of his Manhattan college and university knowledge.

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