Tuesday, February 3, 2009

for the fences

Olivia struggled off the bench; shoulders slumped as she walked down the concrete executioner’s path, passing others due to walk the same path after her. At the end she turned to the left and studied the options. Size, length, and weight all had to be processed in her little mind. Olivia made her choice and turned back onto her disheartening path. She climbed up the two steps and placed her feet on the earth’s solid dirt. Olivia mustered all of the saliva she could, pulling from the corners behind her gums, and spit down onto the red dirt. “Traditions! Might as well.” Olivia thought.

As her turn came, Olivia walked out of the warm up circle. Slowly she took each agonizing step. Put her out in the outfield and she would run out there, but this fate was worse than anything she could think of.

Eventually she makes it to her assigned place. She places her feet as she was instructed, beating her weapon against each cleat before placement. She crouched down, bending her knees slightly. In no time at all the pitcher released the ball and Olivia swung as hard as she could, hoping to murder that pitch on the first try.

“Strike!” the man with the black grilled face shouted.

Olivia’s confidence, already lacking, sunk.

She positioned herself again. Again the pitcher hurled the red stitches toward her. Again the man with the grille face called out the obvious as the momentum of her swing brought Olivia to the ground.

As she lifted herself off the ground and dusted herself off, Chad comes running from the bleachers, calling Olivia over to the backstop.

“Olivia, what’s wrong?” he asked gently.

“Daddy, I just can’t seem to hit a home run.”

Chad smiles,”Honey, you have no control over that. If that ball is meant to soar, it will soar. If that ball is meant to skip across the dirt and come to rest in the tall green grass, it will skip. But you are not responsible for that. You are just required to make contact.”

Chad smiled once more and suggested she return to the plate.

Being a little more hopefull, Olivia turned back and returned to the white box. She dug in her cleats. Turning to the pitcher, she watched as the man on the mound went into his wind up. She watched eagerly as his arm swung around and that ball flew out of his hand, on a direct path to her.

As the ball neared, the umpire prepared his well rehearsed shout. Before he could proclaim his words, though, he and everyone else heard an unfamiliar and unexpected sound.


Olivia dropped her bat and ran, all the while watching the ball do what it was meant to do.

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