Rick is my new pal. He has the easy confidence of a lifelong athlete.  Recently he told me thathe is sure he intimidates his competitors but implied that it was not his actions but instead the machinations of their own anxious spirits. It didn’t sound like a brag and I do understand that people do those kinds of things to themselves to block their way forward.

Rick innocently began helping me with a few words of encouragement when we were thrown temporarily together as teammates. “Keep ‘em low” he would shout then illustrate with his hands slicing through the air. Even over the 40 foot length of the horseshoe pits it felt genuine and encouraging. Later he showed me how to try to control the rotation of the shoe after it leaves my hand. Then he spotted a flaw with the way I twisted the shoe as I drew it backwards before the release. Next he said “you’ve got to simplify your footwork. Start with your feet together”

Like a sponge I tried valiantly to absorb all I could in those brief minutes. Rick has what appears to be a birthmark on the right side of his face. His body is slim so much so that his age is for me indeterminate. He never shows up for the Friday morning matches. I imagine, for no reason at all, that he is getting cancer treatments of delivering Meals-On-Wheels. He wears a baseball cap with a big button pinned to it which proclaims “Horseshoes is my game” Now I sport one too.