Play Ball!

September 29, 2009
By , Elgin, IL
The high lights shine their bright glare over the diamond. The bases are loaded, there are two outs, and it is the bottom of the ninth, and you are losing 10 – 7. It is humid out, and mosquitoes keep stinging the back of your neck. The batter strikes out and is heading back to the dugout. You are trembling as you reach for your bat, your mouth so dry you could actually taste the dryness.

This game is your last chance at making it to the national tournament. You have to win today, or else the Greenville Hunters will never get a chance to go to the tournament again. For the past 50 years, the Hunters have never gotten close to going to the nationals. The park district has given up all hope on the team and was planning to disband it after this season. Your team is the best the district has had so far, so you have to prove them wrong. But let’s get back to the game.

Sam is up after you. Normally, Sam is one of your best players. The problem is that Sam’s arm is extremely sore from pitching most of the game. The chance that Sam would hit the ball is probably a million to one. That means only one thing to you: the only way you were going to win this is if you hit a homerun.

Don’t get me wrong, you’re a pretty good player. You’ve had tons of singles, many doubles, and quite a few triples. But you’ve never hit a homerun before. All these factors result into you being so nervous you are shaking in your cleats. As you walk up to the plate, you think back to the good ol’ times, times when stress seemed nonexistent, otherwise known as earlier today.

When you woke up this morning, you found your mom cooking your favorite breakfast foods. When you asked why she did this, she said “I don’t have to go to work until later today, so I decided to cook you breakfast.” She even ironed your clothes! She offered to drive you to school. You gladly accepted because the school bus smells like a bowling alley.

When you got to school, you experienced some anxiety. Yesterday, your teacher, Mr. Sheldon, gave you the most difficult test of your life. “If it were up to me, I wouldn’t give you this test.” he said. He told the class that the school district was making it mandatory. Today everybody was getting their test scores back. You had done your very best on the test, but you still think that you’ll get a low score. In class, Mr. Sheldon passed out the test scores. Your score was 120%! “Impressive,” Mr. Sheldon whispered. “Nobody has ever gotten a perfect score before, let alone 120%! You must have impressed the district so much that they gave you extra credit!” You couldn’t wipe that smile off your face until the end of school.

To top things off, on your way home, you found out that your secret admirer, the one who had been slipping those love notes into your locker, was actually your classmate Alex. You had always thought that Alex was pretty cute, which made you really excited. After learning this surprising truth, Alex shyly murmured, “I know you have a game tonight and I wanted to tell you that I’m going to be there. I also wanted to wish you good luck.” And with that, Alex kissed you. And, of course, you kissed back. For about a good 30 seconds, you two were smooching at the bus stop. After that, you both turned your separate ways and headed for your homes. You felt invincible. Then the game started and it all went down hill from there.

As you walk up to the plate, you see the faces of the fans sitting in the bleachers. You see your mom, cheering you on. You see Alex, sitting there with an encouraging smile. You even see Mr. Sheldon with a giant foam finger. You don’t want to let them down. Now, at the plate, with all eyes focused on you, you have to make a choice: 1. “Accidentally” get hit by the ball, giving you one free base, 2. Try to bunt the ball and hope for errors, or 3. Swing like you’ve never swung before.
If you chose 1: You try to get yourself hit by the ball. Unfortunately, instead of getting hit in the shoulder like you want, the ball flies straight into your face. You are injured so badly that an ambulance has to be called. In the hospital, you learn that the team lost the game and the Hunters were disbanded. To make matters worse, the doctor tells you that most of the damage on your face was irreparable. Good luck looking like a troll for the rest of your life!
If you chose 2: You think that you will get lucky with your bunt. You are wrong. When the ball hits the bat, it rolls straight to the pitcher, who throws you out. After the game, everybody goes home in shame. Many people wonder why in the world you decided to bunt. They hate you for the rest of your life. You lose all your friends. Alex tries to cheer you up, but you are too down. Nowadays, most people can find you in your parents’ basement, getting fat on tons of food, watching a video of that game over and over again, wishing you could’ve done something different.
If you chose 3: The pitcher throws the ball, but you hold off for a better pitch. “Strike one!” the umpire calls out. Another pitch, but it’s not the one you want. “Strike two!” screams the ump. You look back at the bleachers and see your mom, Alex and Mr. Sheldon and all of the audience cheering you on, but you can’t here them. Your vision becomes hazy as you look back at the pitcher. He smiles devilishly as he throws his pitch. This is it: do or die, all or nothing. Time seems to slow down. You KNOW this pitch is the one you’ve been waiting for. You swing with all your might and the ball goes up, up, up, and it’s gone! As you run around the bases, your team gathers at home plate. When you touch it, the team lifts you on their shoulders and carries you while all the fans cheer your name. Outside the field, Alex rushes over to you and you two hug each other in joy, tears running down your face. Your team goes to the nationals, wins it, and even goes to the international tournament! There, you face the most skilled players in the world. The heart of your team defeats all your opponents and you all become world champions. The team is put in the Hall of Fame for starting out as small town nobodies to becoming the champions of the world. And you are named their MVP! History will remember you as a hero forever!

The End

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