Prelude: 6th standard.Cricket team selections for the upcoming inter school matches.I am already listed as a bowler.Sir wants to see me bat.All the wannabe bowlers have got their chances.Proper full team bowlers,9th-10th std. fellows about 5 inches taller than me on an average (I was short),are steaming in to bowl.
Sir: Put on the gear properly,and the helmet.
Me (after fidgeting with helmet) :Sir,the helmet makes me feel uncomfortable.I'll do without it.
Sir: Are you sure?
I was already on the crease by then.Now there is a thin line between bravery and foolishness and it was hard to tell when I had crossed it.I play the first ball forward,second ball square,almost hitting Sir.
Me: Sorry sir.
Sir:I still think you should get that helmet,now look at he bowler.
A cricket ball hitting anywhere is painful.But when you are not looking at the ball and people blame you forever afterwards for being incompetent,it hurts a lot more.I was hit just under the eye,it was a short ball and I didn't see it because I was talking.I crashed onto the ground,worried people including my brother rushed in.Thankfully my eye was saved by the slightest margin.I carried a huge lump under the eye for about a month.And distorted vision for about 15 days.
Worried voices over me (as I was lying on the ground) :Take him to the hospital.Do something.Get some ice.
Me (mumbling feebly) :I'll be all right
Sir : Shut up.
Sir carried me to the staff room where I was put on a table and given an ice pack.He talked to me after I regained some sense.
Sir: What were you trying to do?
Me: I was...
Sir: This is not bravery..blah...blah..
I wasn't listening.I was worried about the moment I got home.My mom almost fainted.Right there,right then it was decided that cricket,rather competitive cricket wasn't worth such commitment and sacrifice.Although I got into the team,that moment was the watershed moment as far as my confidence was concerned.I got wickets in practice sessions,but was too unsure to play fast bowling.Being an average bowler didn't help and I was phased out of the team.
Footnote: People to this day believe that I made the team because of that incident.I tried convincing them that I was in before I batted,but then figured out it was useless.Somehow that mental bloc has still prevents me from trying for first team place anymore.Again lack of abundant talent doesn't help.