My brother Bill, as a young army private, was shipped off to Germany in the 1950’s. Even as he stepped off the bus in Heidelberg, he was recruited on the spot for his unit’s slow pitch softball team when someone had phoned ahead that he was a pretty good athlete. His captain, the worst athlete on the team, insisted on being the pitcher, which may have contributed somewhat to the story.

softball-694254_640 (1)Later that summer, playing third base, the “hot corner,” in a tournament in Karlsruhe, with the bases loaded, a huge player blistered a line drive (that my brother confessed he didn’t even see) which smacked into his glove for one out. He then stepped on third base to force out the runner who’d left for home, the second out, and tagged another man sliding into third to complete a rare unassisted triple play.

After the game a colonel coming down out of the stands called him over and said, “Corporal, that was the most brilliant play I’ve ever seen!” To which my brother replied, “Thank you, sir, but I’m a private, not a corporal.” “You are now,” replied the colonel.

Brother Bill has since said that if he’d been promoted at that rate forever, he would have become a General of the Army!