Summer Diamond Girl This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

   How many people can spend their summers getting down and dirty with some of theirbest friends? I do, and I love every minute of it! For years, my summers havebeen spent on softball diamonds around the United States.

When I was tenyears old and just four feet tall, my mother put a glove in my hand and sent meoff to play with the big girls. My life hasn't been the same since. I've spenthours at catching clinics, pitching clinics and hitting clinics. I've broken twofingers on the same hand in two summers. I've been hit by pitches, line drivesand bats. I've had the sun glaring in my eyes, dust swirling in my mouth, rainpelting my head, and water pooling around my feet. And I wouldn't trade it foranything.

I am a summer diamond girl. I play the game because I love it. Igive up the beach, the mall, the movies or just hanging out. I play against girlswho are in college to help me improve. I sleep in dilapidated motels withfunky-smelling rooms in the middle of nowhere because that's where the tournamentis. I travel 200 miles to play a Saturday game at eight in the morning becausethat's the schedule. I have a 9 p.m. curfew because that's my coach's rule. I doeverything I can to improve because I don't want to ride the bench. I live forsoftball.

Summer diamond girls are a breed apart. You know us when you seeus - we're stronger than most girls and have more fight in us. We never give upand we never give in. We hold our heads high, as well as our bats. We keep ourgloves down, and our butts, too. We cheer each other on because there is no"I" in "team." We excel at what we do because we work harderthan other people. We are summer diamond girls.

Most of us don't have asteady boyfriend; we don't have time. How does a boy understand that I wouldrather play softball than hang out with him? Or that the most important man in mylife is my coach? Or just as I would never ask him to miss a game to spend timewith me, neither should he ask me to do the same? Because I am a summer diamondgirl.

We don't sing "Take me out to the ball game." But sing wedo: "Hit it for me, baby, hit it, hit, hit, hit it." In our repertoireare 20 cheers. One of the joys of traveling around the country is hearing a newcheer, bringing it home and adapting it to our team. Also high on the list ismeeting new friends and visiting interesting places.

When I was 12, myteam traveled to Orlando, Florida where we won the Walt Disney World Wide Worldof Sports Thanksgivingfest Tournament. We competed against teams that practicedyear round, while our glorious New England weather limits us to six months ofoutside ball, at best.

Last year, my team went to Virginia in the middleof July to compete in the PONY Nationals. Although we suffered some injuries andhad a very disappointing tournament, we grew as a team. We also had theexperience of pin-trading for the first time. The kids liked it, but for some ofthe parents (including my mother), it became an obsession. The pins I collectedare attached to a souvenir towel and have a prominent place in my room. A specialsmile crosses

my face when I see them. They remind me that I am a summerdiamond girl.

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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This article has 50 comments. Post your own now!

tiedyeelaine123 said...
Oct. 13, 2010 at 9:11 am
I liked your article, you really explained the difficulties in team sports. It was also interesting to hear about the places you've traveled.
mrs stephens said...
Sept. 24, 2010 at 3:29 pm
this is a good story to read u must read it all to understand.
jklol said...
Sept. 17, 2010 at 11:57 am
this is a wierd story im reading in school
(:kasey:) said...
Aug. 19, 2010 at 7:35 am
I really like your story..
ervion replied...
Sept. 9, 2010 at 8:38 am
this story is interesting
GreenEyedGirl14 said...
Jun. 25, 2010 at 9:06 am
I play softball too! I am hoping to play for highschool next year. My team is tied for first in our league and we do tournaments every weekend this summer to make ourselves better. They are like another family to me, even though I just joined the team this year. It is really encouraging to read stories like these that I can relate to. I hope that I can be good enough to be on a team like yours someday! Keep playing, and I hope you make it to the big leagues!!!!!!!!!!
Court-Dingo said...
Jun. 3, 2010 at 4:50 pm
I'm strong and I think i have a lot of heart but i don't play softball, i ride horses and i get the same feeling you do when you play softball. I live for the thrill. I loved your story!
WhimsicalKestrel replied...
Jun. 25, 2010 at 9:18 am
Court I am in th same boat as you- I ride horses and work @ a barn-me and the other works have the same bond as a softball team would and we are a-lot like "Summer diamond girls"
Court-Dingo replied...
Jul. 22, 2010 at 11:32 am
i agree, i dont work at my barn but im there alot and we know how to have fun but we know when we need to be serious and we are all friends there and we help eachother out and im really glad that i made the friends i did at my barn cuz they are all so nice!
kdiddy. said...
May 12, 2010 at 12:49 pm
softball is my life!.
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