Dream Big, Win Large

June 6, Southern California
Friday
Naomi wiggled her toes between the blades of grass. She got up quietly and climbed up the old oak that stretched over home plate. And over home plate, but under the branches, was Peyton tense, waiting for his best friend, Mark, to pitch the ball. She sat on a particularly large branch and sat watching. An easy breeze whispered through the leaves. One green bud and a few leaves fell over Peyton. Her looked up and smiled up brightly at Naomi. She gave him a shy smile, but Peyton and Mark both waved her down. She swung down from the great oak and into the “Oldie Oakie” as everyone called the ratty ballpark.

Peyton silently handed her his mitt and she let it snugly grip her hand. She went out into the outfield near 3rd base as she knew Peyton hit in that direction. Mark got into a windup and pitched a fastball right over the plate. It made a CLANG as it hit the fence behind Peyton. “C’mon! Gimme a good one!” complained Peyton good naturedly. Mark rolled his eyes and gave him another fastball. Peyton gave a slight grunt as he pulled the bat with all his might towards the hurtling ball. CRACK! He hit it solid and it went out over Naomi’s head. She whistled low and deep. “Now who’s gonna go get it?” asked Mark. Naomi was already pursuing the ball lying still in the yellowing grass. She bent and picked it up, and when she looked up, there was a man watching. Like, for real, like he was serious about baseball and this was a try-out. She cocked her head towards the strange man as she walked towards the boys, “Who’s the man?”
2. INSPECTOR
“Dude, is that the Snoop?” asked Mark. “Yeah, I think so,” replied Peyton, “He’s been comin’ around lately. You haven’t seen him Naomi, but he’s an inspector of the Health Department. I guess he’s jus’ checkin’ out Oldie Oakie. But, hey, not to worry, this old place’ll be staying here for a long, long, time!” The two boys slapped high fives. Peyton walked back under the oak and Mark walked back to the pitcher’s mound. Naomi stayed where she was, and they continued their game.

At around lunch time, Naomi waved t the two boys and left. When she arrived at her little, yellow house, she remembered that she hadn’t given back Peyton’s glove. So the next morning, calling over her shoulder as she went took the glove, and a hastily scribbled note, and started off towards Oldie Oakie. She took a piece of wire from her jeans pocket and poked it through the note and in between the laces on the glove. Then she twisted it to hold the heavy glove and note secure. This is what she wrote:
Sorry I took the glove; I didn’t mean to. So here’s it back, and I hope we can play another game sometime. –Naomi Livingston~
She trod home quietly and went back to sleep since there was no school. She awoke for lunch and made herself a tuna sandwich. Her mother hated that she did that. They had a remodeled, fancy kitchen with a blue and yellow theme, very country styled. She jogged easily to that ballpark where she saw a scrap of something fluttering in the breeze. She ripped it from the fence’s grasp. It said,
Hey! Thanks. And say, there’s a baseball try out Monday, this Monday. And it would be awesome if you could try out and be the first girl on the team. So I hope to see ya. –Peyton Goodman ?
Naomi read it twice; she hadn’t known there was a baseball team here! She was glad of Peyton’s kindness and kept in mind to repay him sometime. So today was Saturday, and the try out was two days away; she’d have to practice hard to be good enough for the boys’ team. She picked up a fallen stick from underneath the oak. She gripped it and looked into the sun, squinting. She prayed she could do this. She started her first perfect swing of 100 more she’d planned to do.

When she returned home, Naomi was tired and her arms sore. She groaned as she remembered she had more practicing to do, but with her ever stubborn will, she got up and dressed into a cami and a green and white striped blouse. She buttoned the last three buttons, and then she pulled on jeans. She then threw on her green jacket. She tied her straw like hair into a tight pony tail and added 3 more bobby pins to calm the straggly, remaining hairs. She walked this time to Fruit Fantasy for apples and grapefruit. She bought them, handed the cashier the coins, and headed towards Oldie Oakie. The Snoop was there again, except he had a whistle around his neck and a tee shirt that said Warriors on the back. Huh. Go figure, Snoop was the baseball coach, who knew what would happen next!

Naomi walked in, set the fruit down, and stretched, then walked over to the clipboard Peyton was standing next to and signed my name on the grid paper. He nodded at her to acknowledge her. Mark was more out-spoken, “Hey! Naomi! Didn’t know if you’d come! I bet you would, and lookie here! You really are here, in the flesh!” Innocently, she smiled at him. Mark grinned and nudged Peyton. Naomi decided it was a boy-thing, so she continued stretching. Then Snoop blew his whistle, it was just as deep as his booming voice, “Kids! C’mon! There’re try-outs to do!”
Naomi hated the way he shouted directions as if they were his personal slaves. When her turn came, he wanted five of each throw: the curveball, fastball, and whatever else… So he didn’t even know baseball correctly! She hit all the balls Snoop threw at her, making them all to the fence, dropping right before it went over. She threw perfect pitches at Peyton, when they were paired up for “close-examination” by the Snoop. After he was done, he thanked everyone gruffly and told them the results would be posted on Wednesday.





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