Like You’d Understand, Anyway

April 18, 2023 § Leave a comment

I had a random memory of enjoying the book Short Season by Scott Eller as a kid. It’s about a youth baseball player named Brad, who’s a very good hitter but a terrible fielder. His older brother Dean, on the same team, is a great fielder but lousy hitter, and often bails out Brad in the outfield by covering fly balls hit near him. When Dean quits the team without explanation, it leaves Brad in dismay and looking for answers.

I know I had the book in mind when I was writing my own baseball stories (beginning with “Where the Sun Don’t Shine” at Atticus Review) a few years ago, and I know I had also been reading Jim Shepard around that time, and that the voice that gave life to his football story “Trample the Dead, Hurdle the Weak” was something I tried to replicate with my wiseacre teenage characters.

Going down an internet rabbit hole, I discovered that Scott Eller was a joint pseudonym used by Shepard and William Holinger, who apparently wrote not only Short Season but a number of other children’s books with sports narratives.

This blew my mind, and while I haven’t read Short Season in decades, there is something I recall about the story’s tone—even as it was written for a juvenile audience, without the swears and sardonicism—that has stayed with me that absolutely makes me think of Shepard. The fact that I wrote while influenced by both versions of the same writer, at much different stages of his career, without knowing it at the time is astounding to me.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

What’s this?

You are currently reading Like You’d Understand, Anyway at Neil Serven.


%d bloggers like this: