Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: BRAG (04/20/17)
- TITLE: Confessions of a Little League Dropout
By Donna Powers
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It all started because I wanted to make my Mom happy. You'd think she'd accept that as a good excuse, right?
My Mom is pretty awesome, and I hate disappointing her. She works hard to take care of us, and I do my best to help around the house. I try to do what she asks as soon as she asks me, and do my best at school.
But then I joined softball.
All my friends are part of Little League, and they made it sound like fun. I needed something to do after school, so Mom wouldn't worry about me being alone after school. So I joined the Pleasantville Pirates.
Let's just say there isn't anything “pleasant” about my softball skills.
Coach tried. He tried me at every position, and had me work with one of the older kids to try to help me learn to bat.
But I whiffed whenever I was at bat, and I dropped every ball thrown at or batted to me. Since every kid has to bat at least once per game, I got lots of chances to strike out. I wasn't exactly popular with my teammates.
After a few weeks of this I wanted to quit, but Mom wouldn't let me. Part of that was my fault, because I didn't tell her the truth about why I wanted to quit. I just said I really didn't like the game. So, she gave me Mom Speech #565: don't give up until you've given it your best shot.
So I kept on playing, and I kept on stinking at softball. But I couldn't let Mom know how badly I was doing, could I?
I started small; telling her I'd gotten a hit at one of the games. Then I said I got two hits. After a while, I'd been the pitcher and pitched a no-hitter. Soon, I was Pleasantville's version of Babe Ruth. I began to enjoy her reaction to my “exploits”. I figured her job would keep her from finding out my “best” game was one where I'd made it to first base (because of a walk) and “only” dropped one ball.
My downfall came last night, when Mom got out of work two hours early.
Because she wanted to surprise me by coming to “my”game.
I didn't even realize she was there until about the fifth inning, because I usually hide in the dugout as much as possible (hoping the Coach will skip me in the rotation). When I saw her, I prayed one the bases would open up and let me sink out of sight.
Of course, that was one of the nights I'd dropped every ball, and struck out three times. Once I saw her and realized she'd already seen the truth, it wasn't a lie when I told Coach I didn't feel well.
He let me sit out the rest of the game. I hid in the dugout, dreading Mom's reaction.
We didn't talk on the way home. She just hugged me and ruffled my hair. But after we got home, she asked me why I'd made up such whoppers.
“Staying on the team seemed so important to you,” I started.
She wouldn't let me get away with that. “Don't put this on me, young man. You know better than to tell exaggerate like that. Exaggeration is another word for lying.”
I sighed. “I know, Mom. I'm sorry. I guess I wanted you to think I was doing well. I sure never wanted you to know how bad I am at softball.”
“Why, honey? You know I love you just the way you are. If you've truly given softball your best shot, it's really OK to quit and try something else. I just wish you'd told me why you wanted to quit”
“I know, Mom. I should have. I'm really sorry.”
“I know,” she said, as she hugged me.
And you'd better believe I'm sorry – because instead of going to softball, now I've got to help clean my Grandma's house every day, after school. You don't really know “dusty” until you've discovered how years of Old Lady Dust can coat my Grandma's living room.
Believe me: I have no desire to pretend I'm a big expert at doing this.
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