Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Happy (07/12/07)
TITLE: Baseball From A Wheelchair
By Donna Howard
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Paul sat on the sidelines of the baseball diamond. He wrung his hands, then drew his fingers down the sides of his face. He couldn’t sit still. He gripped the arms of his wheelchair until his fingers were white.
“Dear Lord,” he prayed, we’ve gotta win this one. We’ve just gotta.”
His high school team had already lost their first two games. Now, in the bottom of the ninth, they were behind 7-5 with two out and two men on base.
“If only I could get out there and play,” he said. “There’s a strategy in baseball and I just know if I could apply it, it would work.
Playing baseball had been Paul’s dream since he was a little boy. Then, at the age of five, a car accident severed his lower spine and he was paralyzed from the waist down. Since playing was out of the question, he had read every book about baseball that he could find, and he knew a lot about baseball.
“Choke up, Greg,” he shouted suddenly.
“Ha,” sneered Al, who stood neaby. “What does a guy in a wheelchair know about baseball?”
Paul lapsed into silence. Maybe Al was right. He’d never been able to test his theories.
Greg had heard Al’s unkind words, as had everyone around. He stepped out of the batters box. Paul saw him hesitate. Then he choked up on the bat and stepped back into the batters box.
The pitcher wound up and let the ball fly. Greg connected and the ball sailed over the fence. A home run! All three base-runners scampered home. The fans went wild and the team clapped Greg on the back.
“You can thank Paul for that one,” Greg insisted. “He was right about choking up. I had more power that way.”
In succeeding games Greg began to ask Paul for suggestions. Paul gave them gladly and they always worked. Soon the other boys began to ask too. They ended the season with nine wins and two loses.
Paul was invited to the athletic banquet and was honored as the team manager. The team clapped and cheered when his name was announced. Paul was very happy. Although he had never stood in a batters box, nor swung a bat, his boyhood dream had come true.
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