By Connor deMayo
Last summer (summer of 2007) on a hot sunny day at the New Canaan Lake Club I was preparing for the “Wacky Tennis” event. I had been looking forward to this for days. “Wacky tennis” is the only time you can play tennis games in wacky clothes. One of my favorite games to play is tennis baseball. As you might have guessed, that is baseball with a tennis racquet and ball. When I got to the tennis court everyone was lined up against one side and the tennis pro’s were picking players for their teams. The pro’s were doing their best to stack their team with the best players! “Tom”. “Fred”. “Mikey”. Once the teams were in place and after everyone introduced themselves, we started to play. Our first three batters, Fred, Spencer and Alex all got singles. The bases were loaded with Mikey at the plate. As he swung the racket through the air, my heart skipped a beat. I felt like I had been hit by an invisible mallet. The next thing we heard was a thundering WHAM! Mikey had hit a GRAND SLAM! Next it was my turn to bat. Although I hit the ball hard, it was caught for the first out – that’s tennis baseball. I felt like it was the end of the world until Mikey told me, “Nice try! Maybe next time” as I passed him on the bench. I knew at once that we were going to be friends.
A few days later I got a call asking if I could go over to Mikey’s house. I said yes. At Mikey’s house, I was introduced to another boy named Kane. We played football and baseball. I learned Mikey’s last name was Czech and that he had a sister named Sydney. I also learned that he was going into 5th grade. Before I knew it, it was time to go, time sure flies when you are having fun. It seemed like I had only just gotten there ten minutes earlier.
When I got home, I asked my Mom if Mikey and I could get together soon. My Mom said, “Okay”. Mikey and I were becoming good friends. A good friend is someone you can trust, you know, to watch your back. A good friend is a very good thing to have.
A few months later, I got some very bad news. Mikey had been diagnosed with a brain tumor. The tumor was in a position of Mikey’s head that made it very hard to cure. My Mom told me that Mikey was going to the smartest doctors in the world. I was sad that I might not get to see my friend for some time.
Then one day I got off the bus and my Mom told me that Mikey and I were going to walk into town. I nearly fainted! My Mom dropped us off at Dunkin’ Donuts and the last thing she said, “Look both ways when you cross the street”, “oh, a do not talk to strangers: and “just be safe”. The second she was out of sight, we sprinted down the brick sidewalk and across Elm Street. It seemed everyone knew Mikey and Mikey knew everyone. “Hi, Hi Mikey”, “Hey Mikey”, one after another Mikey was greeted by so many people it seemed like he knew the whole town of New Canaan. After I was literally introduced to what seemed like half the town, we went to Gelato. Gelato has pretty much the best ice cream in town and maybe the entire world. I got a large raspberry which was sweet and creamy. Mikey decided that he was thirsty so instead of him having the creamy, savory, sugary delight of Gelato, we were off to J.P.’s Country Cupboard for some lemonade and Coke. He must have been extremely thirsty because he downed both in under a minute! Before we left, Mikey put the rest of our money on the counter and said to the waitress, “Keep the change”. That was just like Mikey to be nice to everyone which is why he had so many friends.
It was time to head back to Dunkin’ Donuts where my Mom was parked and waiting. When we got back to my house my Dad was home. Mikey and I asked him to play baseball and my Dad said, “Sure thing”. The game was close and my Dad hit my curveball (for the first time) for a home run, SMASH!, to take the lead, 21 to 20. Mikey and I were up and Mikey hit a triple and I was up. If I hit a 120 foot home run we would win. If I did not, well, you know the score. My Dad threw a curve ball which I hit really hard. The ball was flying through the air back, back, back and then CRACK! The ball hit a tree and two balls fell to the ground. It was a home run and Mikey and I won 22 to 21, how sweet it was! My Dad called us over to the spot where the ball had landed, he said, “Connor and Mikey come quickly”. My dad had a pile of string in one hand and a torn leather cover in the other. I had knocked the cover off the ball.
Mikey and I had a lot of fun that next summer (2008), although I did not know it would be Mikey’s last summer. It seemed like Mikey no longer had the brain tumor.
Late summer we began to hear that Mikey’s tumor was gone but a sist was growing in its place. The sist is what caused Mikey Czech to pass away. I will never forget the tennis baseball game, that walk into town with him and I will never forget that baseball game we played.