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The Turning Of A Player
“It’s okay Danny you’ll get’em next time.” Coach says. “Whatever.” Danny says, as he walks back to the dugout after striking out yet again.
His name is Danny Thompson. He is a senior at Bridgewood High. He is the backup left fielder for the Bridgewood Tigers. He isn’t the greatest player; in fact he is one of the worst. He has always wanted to be a professional baseball player. But he has never been able to get to the skill level that’s even close to what he needs to be at. Danny craves baseball. Danny is also a really good student. He averages At’s throughout all the years he has been in Bridgewood High. He has never cheated or even thought about cheating. Until now…
Danny just got home from his latest game. It was the bottom of the 9th, two outs runners on 2nd and 3rd. Danny came up to pinch hit. It was his chance to shine. To get the recognition or respect that he has always wanted. But just like all the time, nothing happened. He struck out. It’s now just a normal thing for him. He has only about two hits in his career playing for Bridgewood high, not very successful.
He needs to get better. He needs to get better now. Steroids are what he thinks. “Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez took them and they did great, so why can’t I?” He finds a website online. Performance Enhancers for the future champions.com (Performance Enhancers are basically steroids). He smiles. He looks in his wallet and he sees over $300 that he earned from his part time job at the Sportsmaniac Café. He orders 10 vials for $20 each. After he orders the performance enhancers he does his homework and goes to sleep.
It’s 5-6 in the bottom of the 9th with 2 outs, the tying run on 3rd, and the winning on 2nd. Danny is going to be the pinch hitter (his steroids haven’t come yet). Danny steps up to the plate. The pitcher is throwing really hard, 94 MPH (miles per hour). That is the fastest pitcher Danny has ever faced. Danny is a little worried, he waits for the first pitch and all he hears is boom! The ball hits the glove right through Danny’s swing. Danny just looks confused on that pitch. He steps out of the box and takes a huge breath. He steps back into the box and gets ready for the pitch. BOOM! He looks back and sees the ball in the catchers’ mitt. ”Strike 2!” The ump calls. Danny steps out of the box with a look of disbelief, as he watched the pitch that he thought was low but was just high enough to be called a low strike. No balls, 2 strikes, 2 outs. The game is basically depending on Danny Thompson. Danny steps back into the box thinking fastball, hard fastball. But he’s wrong. The pitcher throws strike 3! Danny swings and misses at a hanging curveball that ends up right down the middle. Danny shows disappointment to his team one again.
He walks back to the dugout slumping his shoulders. He flips the bat slowly towards the dugout with a disappointed expression. All he can think about is how he missed the pitch. He hears words from his teammates saying varieties of things like “ you suck Danny” or “ how did you miss that Danny”. The coach says something that Danny could guess off the top of his head. “ It’s okay Danny, you’ll get’em next time.” Then Danny says something that coach could guess off the top of his head. “ Whatever.”
After the game Danny and his dad check at the post office because his dad is expecting a package. As they are there, Danny sees his package and he takes it. He walks over to his dad. “What’s that Danny?” Danny’s dad says. “It’s just some books I needed for school.” Danny says. Danny and his dad arrive home, his mom sees the package Danny is holding. “Whatcha got there Danny?” Danny’s mom asks. “Just some books for school that I needed.” Danny says. He walks up to the bathroom and locks the door. He smiles as he opens the box. He takes out the instructions on how to inject himself. After a few minutes of reading the instructions Danny sets it down and gets the vial out. He injects himself in the shoulder. He makes a sour face like he has a lemon in his mouth. He takes the needle out, quickly takes a band aid, and sticks it onto his shoulder. He throws the vial in the bathroom garbage can, then the wrappers of the vial, and then a bunch of toilet paper so it looks full when he takes out the garbage. Danny gets the garbage bag. He takes it, walks down the stairs, and starts walking towards the door. He sees his parents sitting on the couch watching TV. As he walks past Danny’s mom asks “Whatcha doing Danny?” “Just taking the bathroom garbage out.” Danny says. “But just earlier today there was barely anything in the bathroom garbage.” Danny’s mom says confused. “Well there was a lot when I was done in there.” Danny says with a giggle. “I’m probably just losing my mind.” Danny’s mom says. Danny just walks out the door to take out the garbage.
Upstairs Danny feels a weird sensation going through him. It feels like his muscles are pounding while expanding at the same time. He feels a rage inside his body. Ripping through the weak turning into the strong, power exploding him into the real hulk. He knows what it is that his happening inside of him. He’s ready. He’s ready to start the road to his dream, to start a new career, start all over.
He arrives in advanced math class. His teacher is Mr. Bush. Advanced math is one of Danny’s best classes. “Danny, if a is parallel to b, and c is parallel to d but c and cross a and b what is f?” Mr. Bush asks. “ I don’t know who cares anyway.” Danny says in a rude voice. “ I do you need to learn this stuff before you go to college. Come on Danny you’re an At student. You can do this as easy as an 9th grader can make a table representing the equation y=4x+1.” Mr. Bush says in a caring voice. “ Don’t tell me what I need to learn, and what I can do!” Danny screams at Mr. Bush. “ Danny are you okay?” Mr. Bush asks concerned. “ Yes I’m fine just leave me alone.” Danny says. “ I can’t leave you alone when you are in my class. You do what I tell you to do in my class.” Mr. Bush says. “ You don’t tell me what to do Mr. Bush. I control myself and I do what I want to do! I’m out of here!” Danny screams as he walks out the classroom and shuts the door behind him hard.
He walks to the bathroom. He runs in and steps in front of the sink and mirror. He turns on the sink, washes his hands, turns off the sink, and rubs his hands over his face. He looks into the mirror and faces his head down toward the sink. “Washing away something Danny?” Mr. Bush asks as he walks into the bathroom addressing Danny. “ I’m sorry Mr. Bush I don’t know why I just did that.” Danny says in a hurtful voice. “it’s okay Danny. I know your stresses with all this work, I understand, but when you are having trouble just ask me for help. Okay?” Mr. Bush says in a caring voice. “ Okay Mr. Bush I’ll try harder, and again I’m very sorry.” Danny says with a shameful voice. “It’s okay Danny, but are you ready to come back into the classroom, or do you need a few more minutes?” Mr. Bush asks. “ I’m ready to go back in now, but Mr. Bush I got a question.” Danny says. “ Yes, what is it Danny?” Mr. Bush says. “ What kind of punishment am I getting, grade drop, detention, suspension, or any other kind of punishments you can think of? Danny asks. “ Look Danny you are my best student and one of my favorite so I’ll let it slide this time and we can keep this between us and you classmates. But you promise this won’t happen again and when I ask you to do something you will do it right?” Mr. Bush asks. “ Thank you so much Mr. Bush and yes I promise. THANK YOU SO MUCH.” Danny says cheerfully. “ It’s okay Danny, lets just go back class” Mr. Bush says giggling a little bit. “Okay Mr. Bush lets go.” Danny says.
It’s the bottom of the 9th, 1 out, tying run on 2ndand winning run at bat. Danny is pinch hitting for Zeke Jefferson. He steps up to the plate with one foot in the box taking a deep breath and reading the signs from his third base coach. He steps into the box fully and gets ready for the pitch… BOOM! But this time it’s not the ball hitting the glove it’s the bat hitting the ball… HARD. It’s gone; It’s out of here! He finally came through! Danny rounds 3rd base jogging to home plate where all of his teammates circled around home plate waiting for Danny to jump onto the plate and mob him. Danny jumps and becomes the dog of the pile his teammates plant on him. Finally the game doesn’t end badly for Danny Thompson. It’s good. Not good but great. As Danny walks back to the dugout with the feature of happy hair shaking and exploding high fives coach pulls him away to have a little chat. “ Great job Danny you really came through for the team.” Coach says. “ Thanks coach, I’ve been practicing the last few days.” Danny says. “ Well keep practicing Danny because I’m starting you at left field next game.” Coach says with a smile.” Are you serious coach?!” Danny asks excitedly. “ Yes Danny I’m serious. “ Coach says with another smile. “ Thank you, thank you so much coach, I won’t let you down.” Danny says with excitement. “ I know you won’t Danny, now go do what you have to do and rest up, remember we have a game tomorrow.” Coach says. “ Okay coach, I will see you tomorrow.” Danny says. “ See you tomorrow Danny.” Coach says. Danny smiles as he walks away.
Danny settles in his bed and turns the TV on. He sits and watches the Yankees – Mets game on TBS. The Mets are winning 3 – 0 in the top of the 6th inning. Danny lies down while his eyes are glued to the TV screen. That’s what he does every night. Watch as much baseball as he can. Danny smiles while watching the highlights of David Wright hitting a three run bomb off of C.C. Sabathia. Danny is a huge Mets fan. He was born in NYC and has loved the Mets ever since. Danny watches the game until the top of the 8th inning when Danny falls asleep.
Get up Danny Your going to be late to school if you don’t get up now.” Danny’s dad says. “ Give me 5 minutes Dad.” Danny pleaded. “ No Danny you have to get up now, come on lets go.” Danny’s dad says. “ No! Let me sleep!” Danny screams. “ Danny do not raise your voice at me!” Danny’s dad says in a direct voice. “Don’t tell me what to do, just leave me alone!” Danny screams. Danny’s mom appears next to Danny’s dad. “ What’s going on?” Danny’s mom asks. “Danny’s making a huge scene about getting up.” Danny’s dad replies. “You’re the one being annoying and not letting me sleep! Just leave me ALONE!!” Danny screams. Danny Bradshaw Thompson! Do not scream at us! Get out of bed now!” Danny’s mom screams. Danny doesn’t say anything; he just gets up, slams the door in his parents face, locks the door, and gets dressed. He leaves the house and starts walking to school. It’s just after 6th period and Danny meets up with his best friend Matt Zyle. They have been best friends since 2nd grade. Matt is also on the school baseball team and he starts at 2nd base for the team. “ Hey Danny great game yesterday. Can’t wait for today’s game.” Matt said. “ Yeah me either. Guess what?” Danny says. “What matt asks. “First you promise you wont tell anyone? And when I say anyone I mean not one person.” Danny says. “ Yes I promise.” Matt says. “Okay… I’m taking steroids.” Danny says. “ Danny come over here!” matt says in a forceful voice as he pulls Danny over into the bathroom. “ Danny are you crazy; steroids will ruin you!” Matt screams. “ Don’t tell me what will ruin me! You know nothing!” Danny screams back as he walks away from matt.
Danny and the rest of his team arrive at their home field. Danny gets Matt to warm up with him. They start throwing for a slowly for a little bit. They aren’t saying anything to each other. All you hear is “pop!” the ball hitting the glove. Showing fury at each other throwing much harder. Danny with the upper hand. Plunk! And Matt is down on the floor. Everyone hears the plunk, looks over, see their teammate down, and run over to him. The coach runs over to matt and checks him out. He’s out cold. Coach calls an ambulance. There is also a scout slowly walking toward the accident. Danny walks over to the dugout to sit down and clear everything while everybody else is crowding around Matt waiting for the ambulance to show up. The scout shifts ways to the dugout. “ Hi I’m john Tassaro. I’m a major league scout for the New York Mets. John says. “Hi my name is Danny Thompson. The Mets are my favorite team.” Danny says. “Ahh. You hit that kid pretty hard.” John says. “He should’ve caught that. Just because I threw it hard doesn’t mean he doesn’t have to catch the ball.” Danny says in a cranky voice. “ I know, that was a very hard throw. Are you a pitcher?” John asks. “No, outfielder.” Danny says. “ Have you ever considered pitching?” John asks. “I’ve considered anything that I’m needed to play. Whatever gives me more playing time.” Danny says. “ Nice response. I have to go though, here's my card. Call me if you need any help or information with any baseball things. John says. “ Will do.” Danny says with a smile on his face. John smiles back as he walks away.
Danny walks into the gym during his lunch period. He needs to talk to coach about the scout. Danny approaches coach, but before he can speak coach talks. “ Danny, I’m worried about you.” Coach says. “ Why coach?” Danny asks. “ Your teachers. Your parents, and even your best friend have told me that you have been acting weird lately. I’ve also noticed it too.” Coach says. “ Coach what are you talking about? I’m fine. Danny asks. “ Danny, Matt told me something.” Coach says. Danny takes a blank stare because he knows what it is. “ What did he say?” Danny asks pretending not to know what it is. “ Danny why don’t we step into my office.” Coach says. “ Okay.” Danny says as he follows coach inside his office and closes the door behind him…