Don’t force it, it’ll hook on its own.
I held my hand to the surface of the marbled blue sphere. “Is that how you grip it?” he asked.
“I don’t always use my thumb.”
“You should,” he said. “You oughta use a fingertip grip.”
“I’ve been learning.” He snorted lightly. He made marks with a grease pen, exing the spots where the pads of my fingers landed. To the back room we went, a windowless cell, walls lined with shelves. The bare floor was littered with parti-colored plasticky shavings.
Don’t force it; learn to control it.
He put the ball into a drill press in the corner of the room, lining an “x” up with the vertical. He flicked a switch and the auger bit whirled. He lowered the armature, spearing the ball, sucking away most of the shavings with the hungry mouth of a shop vac tube. A few corkscrews of reactive resin flew up and fell to the floor. One hole, and then another, then another.
“All right.” He left the ball and we went to a rack at the far end of the room. He pulled a box from a shelf and put it back before pulling another, and another. He found that one he wanted. He rummaged through the finger grips inside, picking out one, and another, and another. He gestured for me to give him my hand, which I did. One at a time he put the grips on my ring and middle fingers, and on my thumb. They were snug, but not too tight.
It takes time to adjust. You’re going to suck for a while before you get better.
“All right.” He scanned a rack of rainbow-colored plastic slugs until he found one that matched the thumb grip he’d chosen. We went back to the ball, and he set the slug in its hole and then bored into it. Plastic flew. After he'd made the hole he polished its inside with a Dremel bit. Then it was time for the fingers. Applying a bit of adhesive, he set the grips he’d found into their holes, tapping them softly into place with a small hammer.
When we were done he brought the ball to the display room out front.
But you’ll get it back. You’re 140 now, you’ll be 170, 180 in no time.
“Bet he holds on.” The skinny little pin monkey had come into the shop as we were finishing up.
“Bet you’re right.”
I arced my arm backwards and brought it down. The ball stayed on my hand as it reached the ground. Both men laughed. “Relax. It’ll stay on on your backswing. You gotta let go and just let it come off when you come forward.”
I tried it again. It clung to my hand. I tried it again, and at last I relaxed enough for it to dribble off of my hand. He stopped it with his foot.
“Go get ‘em, tiger.”