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

Custom User Avatar
More by this author
Blood streamed down her immaculate jersey onto the sandy infield. It flowed from her face like relentless tears. She lay, vulnerable, painfully helpless. Then the ambulance came and rolled her away. A man raked the circle of blood from the field.

Some say softball is not a sport. Some believe girls aren't tough enough. High school varsity player Christy would beg to differ. Her weapon was her bat. Her drive was her need for victory. Her power? Well, her broad shoulders, long legs, and enormous body. Christy was an athlete. She was tough enough to take my high school's varsity pitcher out for the season.

Christy stepped inside the lines of the White Rectangle of Doom. She readied her bat and cocked it between her shoulders, with her hands in close proximity to her ears. Our pitcher signaled to the catcher.

Smash. This was the sound of the ball leaving the bat, making its way to the pitchers' nose.

Crack. This was the sound of her nose breaking, flattening across her face.

Thud. This was the sound of her body hitting the ground, all in three seconds.

Then, silence. The crowd stood, mouths open and eyes bulging, hands covering heads in distress. The opposing team gathered and turned away from the mound. Our fallen soldier screamed.

“Go warm up,” our coach told me.

I processed for a second. Warm up? I was second pitcher in line, weighing just 100 pounds and equipped with a nose that could be shattered by a gentle butterfly. I was the only one there with trembling hands and a mortified mind. Our pitcher's blood had just been spewed across the infield.

My eyes watered, my breath quickened, my heart hammered. I was about to pitch against monsters twice my size in one of the biggest games of the season. These were the same monsters who had just taken down one of ours. My mind raced with scenarios of how the remaining six innings of the game would go. Each scenario revolved around me, dead on the ground.

These thoughts lasted 10 minutes. Our pitcher, still screaming, was carted away. I pulled back my hair, took a deep breath, and stepped on the mound as the game resumed. The crowd may have been in shock as our pitcher was carried out, but they were in total disbelief when they realized the game would continue. My mother's fright worsened as she saw me, a little freshman, step into the circle.

“You can do it,” Dad mouthed.

My mom looked at me with pride and held up her hands in a boxing stance position.

“Fight,” she said.

I knew what she meant. It was my chance to prove that neither Christy nor the other eight players of great height and power were tougher than me.

I quickly closed the inning without letting them score. I took a deep breath, thankful I hadn't died yet. Every time a new monster entered the batter's box, she looked at their coach with a cocky smirk and laughed at the fact that they had already defeated our team. They couldn't defeat me.

Well, they technically could, and did. They won eight to zero. However, that wasn't what mattered. They never defeated me internally. Our pitcher had a broken nose, fractured cheekbones, and bruised eyes. She came back to school a few days later feeling lucky that there was no long-term damage.

Some people say girls can't play sports, or they aren't tough enough. I was tough enough to pitch the rest of the game, scared out of my mind but persistent. The outcome of the game is irrelevant.

Sports are significant in the moment, like anything else in life. However, lasting significance comes from the lessons you learn. I wasn't meant to pitch amazingly that day. I was meant to learn something about myself. Nothing can come my way, be it a monster or a mouse, that I cannot confront. That day, I was not afraid to take on the impossible. In life I will not be afraid to take risks because it is through trying that I achieve success.

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






Join the Discussion

This article has 3 comments. Post your own now!

skate circa said...
Oct. 13, 2010 at 2:07 pm
I like how you have the guts to get up there and play ball even though you are scared for what happend to your friend...
 
bobmarly said...
Oct. 13, 2010 at 2:00 pm
I found it intresting...It was a vary good story
 
kenziekins14 said...
Oct. 6, 2010 at 7:35 pm
this is exactly what i went through. our pitcher was hit in the forehead and knocked out immediatly. i had to pitch next and i was terrified. i really love your essay. great job.
 
bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback