At the age of 12, I had an epiphany on a baseball diamond at a park near my house. I was in the batter’s box and was suddenly keenly aware of the absence of my presence. I could no longer hear the clapping hands of the coach as he belted out orders, or the encouraging hollers of the Saturday morning crowd. Nor did I hear the tinny thud from the bat that launched my ball toward left field. Aside from the fact I hated softball, all I could think of was, “I want to be anywhere else but here.”  France was always on the top of my list. Switzerland and Italy sounded pleasant too, and I had had recurring dreams about pin-balling my way…