Late one afternoon, after a pre-season practice, Jim heard someone yell “Stop!” It was a girl’s voice, coming from the bleachers.
Jim was putting equipment away. Everyone else had gone. He looked over and saw two girls and two guys standing at the base of the bleachers.
“I said stop!”
Jim saw one of the girls slap one of the guys. Both guys laughed.
“Help!” she yelled.
Jim ran toward them. By the time he got there, one of the guys had grabbed one of the girls by her arm.
“Get away from me!” she said.
“What’s going on here?” Jim said.
“None of your business, geek,” said one of the guys.
“We were just having some fun,” said the other, as the girl wriggled free from him.
“Bullshit!” she said.
“I think you better leave,” said Jim.
“Says who?” said one of the guys.
Jim stepped over to the guy and slugged him in the jaw. He dropped straight to the ground. The other guy came at Jim, but just as he was about to take a swing, the girls started screaming so loudly that he covered his ears and ran away.
Then the girls yelled “Thank you!” as they too ran off.
“Thank you!” Jim called after them.
Jim went back to the trailer, where he’d been putting equipment away. He figured if the guy he decked came after him, he’d grab a bat. But he slunk off.
Word got out about the incident around school. Kids stopped calling Jim geek. When several players got injured that spring, the coach invited Jim to join the team. Right after that, a girl asked him to prom. And the brave girls who drove away the guy who was about to hit Jim formed an after-school self-defense class.