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The Big Stick This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   I have lived my whole life in Massachusetts, andsupporting the hometown team has been a rule to live by. If the Boston Red Soxare last in their league, Bostonians will still scream their heads off like theyhave just won the pennant. Whether it is stubbornness or the patriotism we gainedfrom the Revolutionary War, New Englanders never turn their backs on theirown.

It was 1996 and the team was battling for the wild-card position.This is the good ol' Red Sox, before the Pedro Martinez and Nomar Garciapara era.The fans knew every player, and some players even recognized the regular fans. Wewere a community and I was proud to be part of it.

I remember the day likeit was yesterday. The sun was out and the winds were calm - a perfect day for aball game. I gave my ticket to the usher and entered famous Fenway Park. I couldsmell the Fenway Franks and hear the "Let's go, Red Sox" chant. Ileaned back and took a deep breath of satisfaction. This was my secondhome.

I saw the most beautiful scene: the field was groomed to perfectionand the dirt was raked by the grounds crew like it was art. The game was about tobegin as the players tossed the ball and stretched their muscles.

Thegame was tense. The score was 2-1 in favor of the visitors. I took a bite of mysteaming hot dog and heard the roar of the fans.

"Now batting forthe Red Sox, number 42, Mo Vaughn," said the announcer in his pinched-nosevoice. I watched with awe as this larger-than-life man walked to the plate. Thefirst pitch came whizzing by and clipped the end of Mo's bat. The crowd applaudedbut was perplexed when Mo walked back to the dugout. The count was only 0-1, whywas Mo walking back to the dugout with his head barely attached to hisshoulders?

I was sitting by the dugout as Mo walked below me and slid hisbat over the slanted roof. It rolled to a stop right in front of me. My eyeswidened, and I reached over and picked up Mo Vaughn's bat, "The BigStick." The pine tar stuck to my hands as I lifted it into the air. Thecrowd applauded as my smile grew. It was the happiest moment of my life.

As I examined it I could see the bat was broken on the handle. Looking atthe Jumbo-tron in center field, there I stood, holding Mo Vaughn's bat. I, RyanM., a small-town boy, was the focus of attention at Fenway as I held Mo's bat.Today, that bat stands in my room. Every time I catch a glimpse of it, my facelights up.





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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