Lending an Ear

October 24, 2008
By
“Fifty seven, fifty eight, fifty nine and sixty.” I was done with my first set, two more to go. I was 12 years old, doing 60 sit ups in 60 seconds. It was the summer of 6th grade. I was going through a life changing experience and I didn’t even know it. While all my friends were out having fun I was doing push ups, sit ups, lunges, pull ups, ply metrics and just about every other work out you can do at 12 years old. Why you ask? I was an all-star. I was competitively selected to represent my little league.

We practiced everyday for three hours. My life was baseball. I didn’t have time for anything else. This was my routine for about two months. After two months it was time to see if all our practice had paid off. We had our regional tournament in Kutno, Poland. We took two flights and a three hour bus ride to get to where we would be playing for the next week and a half. The players and coaches stayed in dorms provided by little league while all the families stayed in a hotel about an hour away. It was the first time I was going to be away from my parents. I really didn’t know what to expect.

When we got to the dorms we chose our beds and unpacked our clothes and equipment. We had a light practice then went straight to bed. The next day was the opening ceremony. There were around sixteen different countries in the ceremony. I thought it was cool to see teams from countries I had never even heard of back then like Lithuania or Netherland Antilles. We had our first game the next day against Italy. We beat them by more than 10 runs. We played about 6 more games and won them all with relative ease. We won the semifinal and the final too. With that, we were on our way to the Little League World Series in Williamsport Pennsylvania.

Our games in Pennsylvania did not go as well as they did in Poland. Even though we won our first game, we lost our second one. This left us with our third game against Japan, a must win against one of the favorites to win it all. The game was a disaster; we lost in four innings 17-0 on national television. Four Japanese pitchers combined for a no-hitter. Even though it was one of the worst moments of my life, I took away something that I will remember forever. It was during the second inning, I was sitting out. Our starting pitcher, Trevor King was getting hammered. The score was already 7-0 and the bases were loaded. The coaches decided to pull him out. When he got into the dugout he was in tears. He kept saying he sucked and it was all his fault. I didn’t know what to do, so I just sat there and told him it wasn’t his fault and that it was a team game. I know it wasn’t really helping but I didn’t know what else to do. Eventually he was able to calm down and we watched the rest of the game.

After the game was over, when we all went to meet our parents, Trevor came up to me and asked if he could talk to me alone. We went off a little ways and he told me something that I will never forget. “Listen dude, I just wanted you to know that I’m quitting baseball. It’s not ‘cuz of what happened today, I just don’t like it anymore, and I’m probably never going to see any of you guys again. But before I leave today I wanted you to know that what you did for me today really meant a lot, thanks for being there for me dude.” I never saw Trevor after that day. I don’t know where he is right now. But what I do know is that he taught me something that I will keep forever, that you can have an effect on someone’s life just by being there for them. By being there to listen to them and hear out their problems, you can change someone’s life.





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