Settle. A word that indicates resolution, or simply taking what someone has to offer. When I think of the word, however, all I can think of is French Settlement and all they have previously offered us, which consisted of hurt pride and heads hanging heavy in disappointment. But today is going to be different; they just don’t know it yet.
French Settlement always shares a rivalry with us. Defeat after defeat has left our heads low, but not this time. As we walk into the dugout with our fitted black pants, some with holes in them from our hard work and some without them, the tension starts to rise. It’s almost as visible as the steam coming off the hot asphault after a rainshower. The neatly stitched gold letters on our bold maroon jerseys let everyone know who’s territory they are on. At first, French Settlement isn’t so intimidated, but they soon will be.
The fine red dirt, newly chalked baselines, and the fresh cut grass are all hidden teases in the game of softball. It’s like I can hear them calling out to me, trying to get me going. They get my blood pumping because I know that if the red dirt and chalked lines do not get ruined, we haven’t played hard enough. That is always my personal challenge but by the end of this game, those would be the least of my worries.
The game begins with our team on the field and fear in the batters’ eyes. As we exchange positions throughout the game, the tension reaches an alltime high. Strikeout after strikeout, hit after hit,run after run, the battle continues as the score gets closer and closer. We are putting up a pretty good fight, but it is now the very last inning. French Settlement has gotten ahead of us by one run.
As I stand in the ondeck circle, Tobi gets in the batter’s box and anxiously awaits her pitch.With two outs against us, errors are not optional, which does not help when the odds are not in our favor. With our fingers crossed and butterflies in our stomachs, Tobi slams a hit into the outfield, right over the fielder, scoring a double! Once the howling simmers down, I begin to realize one thing... It’s my turn. It’s my time.
I prepare myself to step in the batter’s box, continuously practicing my swing, making sure my form is perfect. I hear a blur of noises around me, some screaming “Come on, hit another one!” and others shouting, “We need you here!” Then there is the one distinct voice I often hear saying, “I’ll give you 20 bucks!” This is my mom thinking I’m actually going to believe her. As I take my first step into the batter’s box, I hear the blur getting louder and louder, but I cannot hear anything specific. The pitcher has a look of confusion when she realizes that I’m neither nervous nor scared of what she will throw at me.
As I stand there covered in dust with the pressure of the world upon me, I feel an unusual sense of calmness over myself. The sweat bullets are dripping off of the tip of…