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Encounter with a Superstar This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

   In America's intense media scrutiny, people get caught up with their favorite TV stars and sports figures. Sometimes these figures are viewed as somehow superhuman, as if they do not possess the faults. If people ever get the chance to meet one of their idols, however, a whole new opinion may be formed. This is what happened to me when I had the opportunity of a lifetime: to meet one of my favorite baseball players, Pedro Martinez.

Arriving at the Teen Ink office, I was starting to feel the jitters - it had finally hit me that this was totally real. I was only a ten-minute drive from Boston, where I would live out one of my dreams of talking to a Major League baseball player. We went over what we needed to know, and soon were on the Massachusetts Turnpike, with the ancient ballpark looming in the distance.

We arrived at the park and sat in one of the stadium's front rows. Looking out over the field I saw all my favorite players: Derek Lowe, Rickey Henderson, Johnny Damon and Nomar Garciaparra. I was in heaven that warm afternoon, but it soon got even better when I heard a voice I'd heard on ESPN so many times - Pedro had arrived.

As we sat in the stands with Pedro, I noticed how easygoing he was. A smile never left his face. The fearsome pitcher who takes the mound every five days is not the real Pedro Martinez, it's the ordinary 28-year-old guy standing next to me joking about the Yankees coming to Boston. "You know, I beat them, and they beat me, " he chuckled.

Then we started the interview, and I asked the first question. Mid-sentence, I realized how tense I was. Pedro delivered an honest answer; he was not trying to be the three-time Cy Young award-winner he was, he was one of three guys in a conversation. His demeanor calmed me and I really listened to what he had to say.

Pedro gave excellent answers to our questions, but one struck me more than all the others. When I asked how he comes back to face the next batter after giving up a home-run, he said that both pitcher and batter have a job to do, and sometimes the pitcher does the best he can, but the batter does a better job. Nobody can get mad, only deal with it.

The answer was profound and really affected me. It was an attitude that could apply to everything in life. Everyone fails at some point. Pedro's attitude toward pitching is the right attitude. We must always do our best. No one is perfect, even if they can throw 95 miles-an-hour. And we cannot get down on ourselves if we do our best and still fail. We must take satisfaction in the job we do, because just like the batters, the variables that control us do a better job sometimes than we do.

As I walked away from Fenway that night, I had a different attitude. I saw that Pedro Martinez was just like the rest of the people in the stadium that night. He succeeded, but he also failed sometimes. And if I took anything away, it was that although I cannot throw a cut fast ball at 95m. p. h. , or throw a twelve to six curve ball, I am not that different from Pedro; none of us are. And what Pedro applies to baseball, we can apply to our lives. I learned that I should never be discouraged if I tried my hardest. Failure happens to everyone. The batter will sometime hit a home run, and when he does, we must get back on the mound and deliver the next pitch.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.





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