Baseball This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

     Baseball has been part of my life for as long as I can remember. Sometimes I think it’s the glue that holds my family together. No matter how many things come and go, that baseball diamond and the feeling I get when I sit in the stands with my friends, family, hot dog and peanuts never wavers.

Over the years, I’ve attended innumerable games: my brother’s little league, middle school, high school, college and now professional games. Most of my fondest memories are tied to baseball. I think back to certain times in my life and equate them with where my brother was playing. I can piece together snippets of memories - baseball fields, athletic stores, people I once knew, different parts of the country we visited, rainy days when games couldn’t be played - to create a slide show in my mind.

I’ve never really understood the pull baseball has over me, yet it’s there. I can’t deny the attraction. Most teen females would have lost interest long ago, but I’m still going to as many games as possible. There’s just something about the atmosphere - the people, the field, the food, the laughter - that’s been absorbed into my bloodstream. Sometimes I think if you cut me open, I’d bleed memories of baseball.

So many boys dream of the chance to play baseball their whole lives, from the moment they’re in the crib and their father throws the squishy ball, just hoping they’ll catch it in their chubby palms and maybe, just maybe loft it back with their left hand. For many, it’s just a teething toy, but that baseball represents so much more. For my brother, it’s been a dream come true to say baseball is his profession. He’s one of the lucky few who can truly say they do what they love for a living.

Baseball has helped me travel. My brother went to Virginia Tech University and during his junior year, I got to fly there for the first time. It amazed me how one of the few things I could pick out from way up high were baseball fields. They were a beacon for me. Something about them and knowing there are others across the country as attached to baseball as I made me cry.

Baseball has given me my relationship with my brother. When I think of him, I think of baseball. I see him in his uniform, intense on the mound and smiling after a good game. Most of our conversations center around baseball. For a long time I had to come to terms with knowing baseball was the main focus of his life, and mine by default, yet now it really seems to fit.

Baseball made my brother a man. When I look at him, it’s difficult to imagine him even a year ago. The jump from scrawny high-school player to college ace and now professional starter has been a measurable and certainly memorable one. Even my brother’s face has changed. Gone is the innocent little boy. Hard work and dedication have filled out his lanky body; he’s a force to be reckoned with on the mound.

The first recorded baseball game took place in 1846. While I have no evidence that any of my ancestors played in this game, I feel romantic and would say that one must have. Whether it was as the star player or a spectator, my family must have been there. Somewhere down the line, there was a boy who looked at a ball and saw the possibility of a lifetime of dreams coming true.

My grandfather played, then my dad, and now my brother. The dream was passed to me through osmosis. I’ve absorbed America’s favorite pastime, the entire baseball-diamond culture. I love standing as the National Anthem plays, watching the entire stadium pay homage to our nation and the dignity and honor of the game itself. Baseball is the best representation of America I know.

It’s so much more than just a sport, though. It’s a chance for parents to reach out to their kids and teach them something about life. “Pitchers know they have other people behind them to support them if they have a rocky outing” equates to “Your friends and family are behind you when you need them.” “Listen to your coach; they’re more experienced and can help you” equates to “Listen to me, because I’ve been there and I know what you’re going through.”

Baseball is covered in America and America in baseball. My family, from middle-class America, has embraced that culture and become part of the tradition. I am my grandfather’s granddaughter, my father’s daughter and my brother’s sister; I’m an American and baseball is in my blood.

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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ThatOneDino said...
Apr. 14, 2016 at 9:29 am
This relates to me alot!
makenzie2 replied...
Apr. 14, 2016 at 9:32 am
@ThatOneDino omg ur that one dino
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