Of all the contorted, twisted, emotional trauma a high school athlete can go through, it's hard to imagine any being more trying than what Jaydin Goldenstein experienced last month.
After a year of estrangement from his mother, a drug addict who spent significant time in jail and a halfway house, Goldenstein sat by her bedside as she died.
According to an excellent piece by the Denver Post's Benjamin Hochman, two days later, still in the midst of his own conflicted feelings of grief, Goldenstein authored what may be the single greatest baseball day in the country in 2011. In a doubleheader for his Holyoke (Colo.) High team, he started the day with a no-hitter, ensuring a massive 11-0 win. In the second game, he hit four home runs, pacing Holyoke to a 15-8 victory. Really.
Making matters even more stirring was just how important the two games were to Holyoke's season. The team needed to win both games to earn the Lower Platte league title. Thanks to Goldenstein, it did.
Afterward, the teenager didn't know how to react to his mother's death and the historic day he produced on a baseball field. His mixed emotions of a long and turbulent relationship between the two blurred the lines between outright ebullience and general angst.
"When she was first getting involved with drugs, it was scary because she was acting different," Goldenstein told the Post. "Then the cops got involved and I was like, 'whoa.' You shouldn't have cops at your house when you're 8 years old.
"I forgave her several times. But she kept messing up. She used to try to call me, and I wouldn't talk to her."
Yet all that emotional confusion melted away in six hours on the baseball diamond, where Goldenstein is a rural town king. The star of the school's football, basketball and baseball teams had never had a finer athletic day. He probably never will again.
"Normally I don't think about hitting a home run," said Jaydin, who once before had hit two home runs in a game. "But after the third, I was like — I'm going to try to hit a home run."
Perhaps the best perspective on the game came from the opposing dugout, where the Wray (Colo.) High coach couldn't believe that the same player had single-handedly destroyed his team's title hopes in two consecutive games … in a single day.
"I was so happy for him," Holyoke coach Kyle Bules told the Post. "I talked to one of their coaches after the game, and he said, 'He had most guys' careers in one day!'"
A career in one day, and a lifetime of highs and lows in a week.
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