The Game of Expectations

January 11, 2018
By btosney BRONZE, Wyckoff, New Jersey
btosney BRONZE, Wyckoff, New Jersey
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Today is the day. Game day. This is our biggest game of the year. My team and I were in the finals. We had worked for this the entire summer. Everyone was rooting for us and we couldn’t let them down.
I was in my uniform, riding in the car on the way to our town softball field. It was late July, the sun was shining and there was not a single cloud in the sky. It was the perfect day to play softball. My team was playing against our biggest competition this year, Allendale. We had gone back and forth with wins and losses, both of us, very consistent and successful teams. We need to win this. There is no way I’m losing this game. If we don’t win- my thoughts were cut off by the sudden stop of the car. We’re here.
“Good luck, you’ll do great! I’ll be back at 4:00 for the game!” my mom waves goodbye and drives away. My cleats click under me as I walk towards my team’s bench. There are already a couple of my teammates there, having a catch. I hang my bag on the rusting fence of the backstop and take my glove out of my bag. I jog over to my teammates,
“Can I throw with you guys?”
“Sure,” they say throwing the ball at me. We continue throwing warming up our arms and just talking about the game coming up.
“Guys, we need to win this game. We’ve beat this team before we can do it again,” I say with confidence.
“Yeah, but we have lost to them before, it can always happen again,” says one of my teammates.
“Come on, you can’t be negative like that. We need to win this. Everyone is counting on us,” I retorted. We just continued throwing in silence, each of us thinking about the win that we were hoping for.
“Coaches, ground rules!” the umpire screamed across the field. That was our cue to head into the dugout and start our pep talk.
“Girls, we have to play smart and strong. We can’t make any silly mistakes today. You all have been playing for a long time now, so I expect your best today. Okay, ready? Raiders on three, 1…2…3, Raiders!” Our coach patted us all on the back, as we got ready to go out onto the field. We were the home team and it was time for the game to begin.
We all ran out to our positions ready to play. The first batter stepped up to the plate dressed in a bright red jersey, black pants and high red socks. She’s tall and mean looking, glaring back at the pitcher, ready to hit one over our heads. The first pitch zooms in, and hits the glove with a slap.
“Strike one!” the girl at bat becomes frustrated. The second pitch comes in even faster.
“Strike two!” I can see the anger burning in the batter’s eyes. The third pitch comes in at an unexpectedly slow speed and the girl swings before the ball even crosses the plate.
“Strike three, you’re out!” The girls stomps away fuming. One out already, let’s get the next two. The second girl comes to the plate. She’s a lefty, short and thin. The first pitch comes flying in, the girl fouls it off towards third base. The next pitch she fouls it off again, but into the backstop, just missing the umpire.
“We have two strikes and one out,” the umpire reminds us. The next pitch comes in a little high and is called a ball. Our pitcher takes a breath and gets ready to throw the next one. She winds up and pitches the ball to the glove. The batter swings and hits a ground ball to the shortstop, who throws it to me at first base. Two outs. The next girl comes up to bat with a look of fear written on her face like a scared mouse. She gets to the plate and has three perfect pitches thrown to her and doesn’t swing at a single one. Three outs.
My team and I hustle in to the dugout and the first three batters get their gear on. We all watch the pitcher warm up, she’s fast, but we all have hit her before. Our lead off batter walks up to the plate and gets ready to swing. The first pitch goes right down the middle and she hits it right back up the middle for a single. We start cheering like crazy. The second batter heads up to the plate, she takes three big swings but misses and strikes out. The next girl hustles to the box and gets set up. She ends up getting walked which leaves us with one out and two girls on base. My next two teammates just couldn’t make it on base, so we left the inning with two girls on the bases and no runs scored.
The next couple of innings went by similar to the first one. Both teams making good plays and hitting the ball. By the time it gets to the final inning, the score is tied 1-1. Before my team heads out onto the field, our coach gathers us in a huddle.
“Girls, this is it, we have to hold them here. We need to think and be smart out there or we could lose this whole thing. Just go out and play as hard as you can!”
The inning begins and it does not go well. The other team is hitting decent shots, but they are all plays we can make. Except we don’t. A fly ball is dropped in the outfield, a ball rolls through a girls legs, it is just not going well. We eventually get out of the inning, but the score is now 3-1. We really have to score here or it’s over.
There is already one out and there is one girl standing on second base. I’m up to bat and my coach gives me the sign to bunt. Okay you’ve got this, just get the bunt down perfectly and you’re good. The pitch comes in and I get ready to bunt. The ball bounces off my bat but instead of landing on the ground it pops up foul. The catcher grabs it and as I walk away I can see my coach shaking his head in disappointment. The last batter grounds out to first and we lose the game. It’s over. The game we were expected to win is over and we didn’t come out as the champions. Everyone upheld these expectations for my team and I, and we just couldn’t reach them. We weren’t even close.

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