Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Streak - 58

Jim Bosworth gathered the team around him in the clubhouse before the Wednesday night game. Two strangers were standing beside him, a man and a woman.

"Guys. Fellas," he began. "I want to introduce you to Mark and Alexa. This is Mark Jensen. This is Alexa Leblanc. They're here to help us. They're here to help me help you."

Wary stares from the assembled.

"Alexa here's from Vapor Consulting Services –"

"Viper," Alexa corrected.

"Viper Consulting. I apologize. She's a sports psychologist."

You could almost see the cloud of black thoughts rise above the players' heads.

"She's going to help you guys visualize yourselves as winners instead of as a buncha little girls!" Jim yelled, his face reddening. "That's right. Winners. Now Mark, he's from the FutureNow Institute. He's a, he's a... Help me out here, Mark."

Mark emitted a chuckle. "I'm many things to many people," he declared coyly.

"What are you, Mark?"

"I am a spiritual evolution facilitator."

"That's right," said Jim.

Whimpers of protest and pique arose now.

"Hey! Hey!" Jim shouted. "You heard the gentleman right. That's what he goddamn well is. Between Alexa and Mark we're going to see if we can't figure out what the fuck is wrong with all you pansies. And don't go thinking this is some kind of faggoty shit right here. You guys are the guys who prove day in, day out, you can't get your cocks up to win a baseball game."

Bosworth peered sharply at his charges, letting his last remark linger like a toxic mist. It was no less potent for being obvious.

"You fuckin'-A right. I'll go deep into your asses to find a solution. I don't give a fuck. No lie."

He paced like Patton, arms behind his back.

"If I need to hire a squad of goddamn male strippers to get you guys horny to win baseball don't think I won't. I don't know who you are anymore. You don't know who you are."

The skipper finally stepped aside and gave a nod to Alexa.

"First of all, I want to thank Jim Bosworth and the entire Yankees organization for giving me the opportunity to help you guys," she began. "It is truly an honor. Now let me take a minute to explain what I do. Just like your manager has a game plan, I want each and every one of you to have his very own game plan. Except we're going to call it your mental game plan."

Among the players legs fidgeted and eyes rolled mutinously.

"I understand this is difficult for many of you," she continued, detecting the tremor of antagonism. "It's hard to talk about things you've never had to talk about before. Never had to think about. But the reason you never did is because all your life you've been winners. You need to get that winning feeling back. We're going to see if we can't help you–"

Here she made two peace signs and slowly brought her hands together in front of her face.

"Visualize victory."

"Thanks Alexa. Mark! What are you going to do for us?"

Mark cleared his throat as he stepped in place before the team.

"Our view at the FutureNow Institute is that there's nothing you can't do. Nothing you can't overcome. You've heard the expression your own worst enemy. I bet you feel that way sometimes on the field. Well, maybe it's time to defeat that enemy. Here are some questions to ponder: Do I want to win? Do I want to lose? Do I deserve to win? Do I deserve to lose? I'd like to work through some of these questions with you in the context of our trademarked program of meditation and breathing exercises, EternityNow."

"Sounds great, Mark," said Jim. "I encourage you all to make appointments with Alexa and Mark. Skip the whorehouse for a day. Oughta be painless. Maybe do ya good. An' I don't wanna see no one striking out or hitting into no double plays who didn't bother to visualize success or line up their goddamn force fields or whatever the fuck. Got that?"

The players looked up at him in tight-lipped acquiescence.

"Ahright. Now get out there and – what is it, Alexa?" The skip looked imploringly to the shrink, his fingers raised in ludicrous air quotes. "See? Winning?"

"Visualize victory," she stated, repeating the double-V gesture she'd made before.

"Like the lady said. Visualize motherfucking victory. That is all, boys. Get ready for the game."

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