Grand Slam Perseverance II

Grand Slam Perseverance II

As we read in Part I, Nick lost his game but a caring man encouraged him to not give up.  Here, he helps Nick make the right decision & teaches him about perseverance.

The door slammed behind him as Nick struggled to hold on to his cleats and his burger.  “I hate being late!” he complained to his Mom.  “I need batting practice before the game, really bad!”  Mom handed him a napkin.  “Don’t forget you’re on a team, Nick.  You have a great team!”  He absorbed his burger, but even more so the encouraging words of his Mother.

Soon practice was over and it was time for the last big game.  Nick’s dream for the Play-off’s was closer than ever, but things didn’t look good for the Eagles.  By the fourth inning, the team’s discouragement started to show.  At the top of the sixth, Nick could not believe his eyes.  Their best catcher missed an easy pop-up, and the crowd’s reaction was unmistakable.  As if things couldn’t get worse, their best pitcher threw his arm out on a fastball and was out of the game.

The score was 4-9.  It was still possible to pull through, but Nick felt like giving up again.  He was so tense he didn’t know the man was back and had been clapping for him until a teammate asked who this guy was. Suddenly, the man was sitting next to him in the dugout.  “Nick, don’t get discouraged.  I know you can do it!  The only way to win this game is to keep your eyes on me and persevere.”

“Persevere?  What do you mean by persevere?”

“Just keep your eyes on….”

“Come on Nick, you’re up to bat!”  A million thoughts carried him to the batters box where he looked back to thank the man but he was gone…  Nick focused on the pitch with a surge of renewed strength.  Two strikes, then – a double.  “Keep your eyes on me…”

Entering the bottom of the 9th, trailing by 3 runs, the Eagles managed to load the bases with 2 outs.  With Nick, the #6 hitter coming back to the plate, it was all on the line.  The pressure was intense and he was nervous.  He boldly took his place at the batter’s box, grasped the bat and got into position.  The packed bleachers became silent as the pitcher looked in for his sign.  With each pitch, the tension mounted.  He was determined this was the last pitch as he sent a fastball screaming towards the plate and the ball leveled off straight for the strike zone.  All Nick could hear was “Focus on me…”  He looked up in the stands – the man was the only one there.

Nick was fed up with wimpy swings, including his own.  He was going to show the world how balls were meant to be hit.  As the ball sped toward him, he judged it perfectly.  A loud crack pierced the air, and the ball went soaring toward the fence.  The outfielder made a desperate attempt to chase it down but it was pointless.  As Nick rounded the bases, the cheering crowd erupted out of their seats, making it all feel like a dream.  Nick was mobbed at the plate as his team mates lofted him onto their dusty shoulders.

Suddenly it was just Nick and the man in the bleachers.  Everything became calm and still.  Nick clutched the very same ball he sent flying across the field as he listened to the soothing voice, “So what do I mean by persevere?”

“ Just what you were doing – when things got tough, you kept your eyes on me.  Even if it looks to the world like you’re failing, you’re always winning when you’re on my team.  Life will get tough and your “opposition” will seem like it’s winning you over, but come what may – strike-out or grand slam – you have an audience of one and being on my team is the most important thing that can ever happen.”

Just then, a different voice echoed across the field.  “Good Morning Springfield!  Forecast coming up next but first, the Eagles make it to the Play-off’s…”  Wasn’t the announcer gone?  Nick reached over to shut off his alarm clock – only to find a baseball in his hand…

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Jennifer loves kids galore, & helping them reach their potential more.
Privileged to have taught in the past, she’s homeschooling her boys & having a blast (most days.)
She loves being married & living in the country, with an occasional 4-legged creature sighting.
She also enjoys running & photography – but especially the fun of rhyming her writing.
She and her husband Neil have two sons and live in Central Michigan.

Photo Courtesy of 123rf.com

1 Comment

  1. Theresa Swanson
    Jul 22, 2013

    A real cute story on perseverance. I loved the ending! Very well written, Jennifer.

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