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I’m one of those people who never expect wonderful, amazing things to happen to them. I know I won’t be a princess, or most likely won’t be the president. I know I won’t have the 100% perfect wedding, or own a mansion and be rich. But life goes on, and I’ll find happiness somewhere or some way else.
This is the story of how one girl (me), learns that almost everything in life requires determination and a little hard work, but it is well worth it in the end:
“Thirteen is her number!”
“Thirteen is her number!”
“Liz is her name!”
“Liz is her name!”
“She is the reason!”
“She is the reason!”
“We’re gonna win this game!”
I hear my team mates cheer for me back in the dugout as I step up to plate, ready to swing that ball over the fence and run like the dickens to first, second, third, and home base again.
Come on; hit that ball a country mile! My grandma used to say whenever we practiced in her back yard.
The pitcher throws the ball; I see it make its way through the air and to me in a second. Just as the ball gets to me I swing the bat as hard as humanly possible.
And hit the ball a country mile.
I throw the bat back toward the dugout and run so fast I’m sure my legs will fall off. I touch first base and run to second, not having to look at the other team trying to run after it, but knowing it’s going over that fence.
I run to third and start to home. No sign of anyone catching a ball or running to tag me or get me out at home.
And right as I’m about to touch home, time just seems to stop all together.
In the few seconds that time slows down, I glance around. To my family in the bleachers, standing and cheering me into my first home run of the season. My team doing the same, screaming “Go, Liz, go!”. At my couch who is smiling the biggest smile I’ve seen yet. And finally the ball, which has made it into the field.
And time is back to normal and I gasp as I see my foot has landed on home plate, and I’m safe.
I walk to the dugout a few feet from home plate and just as I step inside, awaiting the thousands of smiles and pats on the back I’ll get from my team, I wake up.
I wake up to my TV on in the living room, the chair in the living room beneath me, and my mom telling me it’s time to go to the softball game.
Earlier I got dressed into my softball uniform and shoes and hat, and decided to take a nap before we went.
I sat up, rubbed the sleep out of my eyes, and set toward the back door to where we would go to the car, drive to the game, and hopefully not lose like last time.
When we get there, almost the whole team is there.
“Liz, where were you?” Lisa asks, walking up to me and my family.
“Nocturnal-ism took over.” I grin as her and I walk to the rest of the team.
“Look at who we’re playing this game.” Kayla says in an unexcited tone.
I glance at the team across the field wearing blue shirts and blue hats.
Lauren! I scream in my head.
The blue-shirts were my best friend, Lauren’s, team. We had versed them before in this season, but last time she wasn’t there.
We make our way to the dugout once the coach sees we’re all here.
“Alright, girls. We didn’t exactly win last time we played these guys, so get ready and get out there.” Coach says.
First inning we’re in the field and the other team is up to bat.
For whatever reason, the coach puts me at left field.
Crazy, I say to myself.
I’ve always, always, always hated the outfield. If the ball goes over my head I will never be able to catch it in time and throw it back. And left field it even worse.
And sure enough, first person to hit the ball hits it over my head and I don’t get it in time.
“It’s ok, Liz. Next time.” Lisa says to me, who’s at third base…my base. She turns back around and puts her hands on her knees, prepared for anything.
The three outs come faster than usual and the inning is over. Our turn to bat.
Lisa is up first. I wish her luck and she heads out to plate. I turn around and walk to Kayla, sitting on the bench wiping sand off her cut elbow from when she slid across the grass to catch a ball.
“Is it ok?” I ask, sitting next to her.
“Yep, little cut. No biggie, right?” Kayla asks, looking to me.
“Not a doctor, but I’m pretty sure a cut you got from sliding across grass is fine.” I say.
She lightly punches my arm as I laugh and stand up.
I lean against the fence separating the dugout from the field. I watch as Lisa makes it to second base and Maria walks up to bat.
She gets to walk, and we all cheer for her.
Not a good pitcher anyway, I think to myself.
“You think we’ll win against Lauren?” Riley says, taking a spot next to me.
Riley was the super-star of the team. She is amazing at every single sport, has never failed at anything, without her this team would just be totaled in every game of the season.
“I don’t know,” I joke. We both knew Lauren wasn’t too big in softball, “Maybe.”
Riley grins and walks to the helmets and bats, being that she was on double deck.
I watch Maria go, Lisa make it home, and Bella go up, and then Riley. Inning after inning pass and I do just as horrible as before, not catching a single ball, not hitting one, striking out every time I go up to bat, and not even catching a ball and third base…my base.
It was the last inning, and we were in the field.
I watch as the lights in the ball park turn on, making the annoying buzzing sound the no one here likes.
Something the whole team noticed a while ago was that the lights closest to our field are set directly on short-stop, which is Riley’s position. We all joke around and say that the lights are shining on her, but really saying that she’s the ultimate softball player and she would save this game for us.
We all go out to field. Luckily the Couch was being smart and put me at third and Riley at short-stop.
Right as we were about to play, I noticed something. Four of the light bulbs in the lights above us were out. Now the light only shined on third and not short-stop.
The sun is setting and comes level with the ground, so it’s shining directly on our field. The pitcher gets the first batter out and the next, but the third she has a little trouble with. She already hit one but it was a foul.
“Liz.” Lisa calls from left field. I turn and look at her as the rest of the team prepares. “The lights are shining on you.”
I grin, “No, Lisa, no. the lights are shining on Riley. The sun shines on me.” I say.
I turn around and watch as the pitcher throws the ball. It comes into the runner perfectly and she swings, making major contact with the ball and bat, and directing the ball straight in my direction.
It goes a little over my head, but in that moment, just as I out-stretch my hand to catch it, time slows again.
I look around again, at Riley next to me on short-stop, Lisa behind me at left field, and everyone else watching me with such anticipation, it scares me.
Just as I jump in the air to catch the ball, time goes to normal speed.
I jump as high as I can, trying to reach the ball.
And it lands in my glove!!
I bring my glove down and look in it.
And there, in my black, used glove, is a yellow, dirty softball.
My eyes grow wide, my mouth drops open, and I smile.
Riley was even so surprised that she had to walk over to me and look in my glove as well to make sure it was really true.
And it was. I had won the last inning for us. I had gotten the last out.
We run back to the dugout and after all the congratulations I get, I head home.
Good things usually don’t happen to me. But when I put determination and hard work into it, it really is damn well worth it in the end.