Experiencing The Gameby Matt Silverio, Bristol, CTYou step into the batter's box and stare down the pitcher. You dig your feet in and take your practice cuts. You are now watching his every move, waiting to see the ball. The pitcher comes set, kicks his leg and you see it. The ball is coming down the heart of the plate. Your eyes almost pop out of your head. It's perfect and you swing. When you connect, you feel the ball give and you know that you hit it on the sweet spot. The ball sails over the left-fielder's head and you round first base, heading for second. He picks it up and fires it in as you dive head-first to beat the throw. You look at the pitcher as he looks at you, and you smile.As you lead off second, you see the pitcher staring at you. He kicks and delivers to the plate. "Strike One," yells the umpire. You lead off again and he does not even look at you. You have a big lead and as he comes to his set, you take off for third and dive in head-first. "Safe!" yells the umpire. When you get up, you dust yourself off, look to the catcher and smile. He looks at you and punches his glove in frustration. The batter hits the next pitch into center field, the center-fielder catches it, you tag up from third base and sprint home. You beat the throw and are congratulated by high-fives. You sit down and feel great. As you watch the pitcher deliver, you can tell he is tired. He gets the next batter to ground out and he walks to the dugout. Before the other players are off the field, you get your glove and sprint to your position at shortstop. You feel great at short, since so many great players are playing (and have played) this position.The first batter walks: man on first. The pitcher then gets some words of encouragement from the players and coach. He then proceeds to come set, kick his leg and fire in strike after strike. One out, man on first. The second baseman and you are now at double play depth. The next pitch is hit right to the second baseman, he flips to you and you come across the bag smoothly and finish the double play by throwing a rocket to the first baseman.When you come into the dugout, once again you are mobbed with high-fives. Then you sit down and cheer on your teammates. As you see the last batter fly out to center to end the game, you really feel bad that you lost. But you know that you can walk back to the locker room with your head held high, because you know that you gave your all that game. Even though you lost, you cannot wait to come out on the field again tomorrow and do it all over again. -
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.