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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Write something in the YOUNG ADULT or TEEN genre (06/07/07)

TITLE: Part of the Team
By Misti Chancellor


Ashley sagged against the fence; the hot mugginess of the Alabama afternoon drenched her with sweat. She shoved her sweaty brown hair back from her face with chubby hands, and kicked at the dirt. “If I didn’t want to play so bad, I’d just go hide somewhere,” she thought. She hated, no, detested being chosen last but, it looked like it was going to happen again. She looked over to where three of the other girls were flirting with the boys. Maybe if she wasn’t so quiet and ugly the boys would notice her too. She sighed and muttered to herself, “Fat chance. Oh well, maybe if I can just pound the ball out of the park they’ll at least respect me.”

“We’ll take Ashley,” Brian said as he waved her over to the team. “Ok then, that’s everyone. Brian, since you had last pick, your team can hit first,” Jay said, and turned to send his team scrambling to their positions on the field.

Ashley shuffled over to the fence where everyone was lining up to bat and sagged against it. Pulling off her glasses, she wiped them with the hem of her t-shirt. Shoving them back on her face, she waited for Brian to put them into batting order. She had no expectations of being at the front of the lineup, but she did want a chance to bat.

“Ashley, we’re going to put you in between Travis and Jeremy. That means you’re 5th in line. Come up here. Jake, you go after Jeremy. Crystal, you go after Jake.” Brian’s voice faded from Ashley’s hearing as a grin split her face. She bounced to her place in the lineup. She couldn’t wait to get her hands on the bat and hit the ball out of the park.

Finally it was Ashley’s turn. Travis had just hit a home run and cleared the bases. At least she didn’t have the pressure of trying to bring people back to home. Stepping up to plate, she dried her hands on her skirt and choked up on the bat. The ball floated toward her. Anticipating the ball, she swung the bat too soon, and wind-milled. “Strike one!” Stepping out of the box, she wiped her glasses on her t-shirt, shoved them back on her face, dried her hands on her skirt and stepped back up to the plate. She was going to hit it this time.

She watched the ball float toward her again. BAM! The bat connected with the ball, she felt it all the way up her arms. Flinging the bat behind her, she took off running toward first base. Right before she got to the base, Dwayne grabbed the ball out of the air and tagged her out. Disappointed, she walked back towards the line.

“Good job, Ash! That was a great hit! Too bad Dwayne caught it.” She looked up and grinned at the others on her team. “You did great, Ash!” Brian exclaimed, as he gave her a high-five. “Maybe this won’t be such a bad day after all,” Ashley thought as she trotted back to the end of the lineup. It felt good being part of the team.

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This article has been read 606 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Trevas Walker06/14/07
I liked your story and the message. Great job, keep writing :-)
Joanne Sher 06/15/07
Nice lesson here - though some of the dialogue seemed a bit young for teens - could be me, though! Good job with the characterization.
Jacquelyn Horne06/16/07
FYes, it always helps to be a part of the team. I'm sure this will be encouraging to teens. It's always nice to be a part of God's team too.
Jan Ackerson 06/18/07
I wish schools would all outlaw that system of choosing teams! It's so painful for those of us who are picked last.

In my experience, girls like Ashely rarely experience a swing from rejection to acceptance so quickly--it'd be wonderful if your sweet story were true.
Sharlyn Guthrie06/18/07
Your story was encouraging in that things improved when she just decided to do her best. It may not always work that way, but it's always good to put forth the effort, since that builds confidence. Good job.
Dee Yoder 06/18/07
Most teens can relate to being picked last! Your entry is written well and kept me reading. Good story.
Kristen Hester06/19/07
This was great writing. I could really feel Ashlie's feelings! Nice!!!
Victoria Weathers06/19/07
The triumph of this story is that she put herself out there and didn't quit before she started. Her fear of failing didn't keep her from giving it her all.

I think God allows us to be put in uncomfortable situations to help us grasp the full meaing of success.

If there were now uncomfortable situations could we really understand and appreciate comfort?

Her actions transformed her team. They went from rejecting her to celebrating with her.
Janice Cartwright06/19/07
I liked your visual, minute-by-minute phrases: "wiped her glasses on her t-shirt, shoved them back on her face, dried her hands on her skirt and stepped back up to the plate," and descriptive words like shuffled, wind-milled and floated. All these helped me, the reader, to "be in Ashley's head."
Catrina Bradley 06/19/07
Nice job showing us Ashley's emotions, and great descriptions. I love the happy ending. Only wish it would happen more. Awesomely encouraging. :)
Sara Harricharan 06/20/07
This was good. It seemed a little too lucky that she managed to hit one and then get tagged out in the same hit. But it was realistic showing her different mood swings so suddenly, from happy to sad to happy and then a little glad. Very good. I like it.
Rita Garcia06/20/07
This is a story that is sure to resonate with many, and I really enjoyed the message you so neatly brought to light. Great writing!
Verna Cole Mitchell 06/20/07
The description and the flow in the story make it a very enjoyable read.
Benjamin Graber06/20/07
I like it. I think you did a great job of getting us to feel along with Ashley, both her disappointment, and then encouragement when she was accepted as part of the time.
Julie Arduini06/20/07
Definitely a relatable story for teens. Nicely written!