We were playing punchball on the PS 217 "big court." It must have been during school hours because Mrs. McGowan (a fifth grade teacher) was the umpire and the players included the entire population of the class, not just the regulars. Michael Lurie, the least athletic student in the grade, and perhaps in the entire borough, was told to play third base, and obviously unfamiliar with the game and with Billy Cox, stationed both feet directly on the white-painted base. Someone hit (punched) the spaldeen toward him and he froze, but the ball landed precisely in his crotch, and lodged, and after a bit he found it there and held it up. We all knew that the batter was out, but Mrs. McGowan, as ignorant as Michael Lurie, shouted, "he caught it illegally" and awarded first base to the batter. I remember that several of us protested, but Mrs. Mc Gowan was adamant.
It was a miscarriage of justice. A violation of the rules. The umpire was incompetent. How could I ever trust authority again?