Back when my brother and I were growing up we were always together. The way he followed me around was like I had another person that was attached at my hip. Now he was three years younger then me but throughout his childhood he was bigger then all the kids his age, and this foreshadowed how big he would grow up to be. He would always want to play video games with me, shower right after me and eat what I ate. Most of all when my friends and I played sports everyday after school, he was always begging to go along and eventually would get hurt and end up crying while walking home because one of my friends ran into him or tackled him too hard. However, no matter what happened the day before, the next day when I grabbed my cleats to head up to our local school he would be right there behind me begging to come along.
I knew eventually this would pay off for him because he grew up playing with older kids but I never thought that it would pay off for me. When I reached my senior year of high school I had already achieved great success in sports. My freshman year I was on the first basketball team from my hometown to make the state tournament in twenty something years. Sophomore year I played for the baseball team that made the state tournament, and competed in a couple district and sub state championships that we ended up losing. Throughout all those no matter how important they were to me they just felt like a game and winning them felt good, but on that night it was different, that night made me believe that it was more then just a game.
It was my senior year in baseball and my brother was a freshman playing with us along with a couple of other kids in his grade. They also played basketball with us and to add to the emotion I felt for him half way through the basketball season he got to play with me he broke his foot and wasn’t able to play the rest of the year. Now we had a pretty good year in baseball, we won some games we shouldn’t have and lost some games we should of one but still managed to make it to the sub state game against a team that had a great closing pitcher. The game was one of the most emotional experiences I have ever been threw. It included fatigue because we had been playing all week and it was not cool that night. Not to mention a collision between my pitcher and I going after a ground ball in the fifth inning. However, eventually it got to the bottom of the seventh and our best hitter was up with a runner on second and one out. I was sure it was over, that he was going to come threw and we would be headed to the state tournament. But when he took his hack at the ball and flew out to the third basemen for out number two up stepped my brother with two outs and our whole season on the line.
As nervous as he was I was probably just as nervous for him, maybe even more. Throughout high school it had always been me in that situation and he was the speck tater. Just like how he always followed me around now I was on deck helpless and it was all up to him. More then anything I just wanted to call time out and take his place. I mean it wasn’t that I didn’t think he could do it was just the older brother in me coming out and wanting to protect him or help him out. Now take all those thoughts and listen to the worst part about the situation. As he walks up to the plate the coach of the other team stands up and signals in that great closing pitcher I talked about, a kid that threw harder then any pitcher I think my brother had ever seen. And as the pitcher finished warming up and my brother went in the box to hit my nerves went out the window.
When the game was over I was laying on the field crying. The whole season was over and I had played my last game on the field that I played on my whole life. My time was over and it was time for my brother to take over. And I was alright with accepting that because while I was laying on the field crying my brother and the rest of the team was with me because I just tackled him after the 1-1 fastball the pitcher threw him was lined into left field and the winning run scored sending us to the state tournament for a unthinkable cap on my high school sports career. To me this symbolized that all those years following me around paid off for him and he was now ready to be on his own and didn’t need me to show him the way any more. Today we are closer then ever and every day he continues to achieve greater success not only for himself but influencing me to do my best at sports and school everyday. So I leave you with this, next time someone says it’s just a game, think of this story and believe in the game, and understand that sometimes, to some people, its way more then just a game.
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