I believe in baseball. Ever since I turned 6 and began to play I have loved it. I would spend hours in the backyard throwing the ball unto the garage roof and then trying to catch it as it rolled down. Countless afternoons all of us neighborhood kids would meet up to just play pick-up games in the park. We would pretend to be some famous major leaguer playing at Wrigley Field or Yankee Stadium. As I grew older my love for the game only grew. I began to play on competitive teams that traveled the country and it seemed as if my life revolved around baseball.
When I entered high school I stopped playing for travel teams and began to play for my high school team, the Valley Tigers. Baseball turned in to something a little different but somehow even greater. Fans weren’t just parents and younger siblings, but class mates, teachers, and other people from the city. Since I decided not to play college baseball so my entire career came down to the state championship game my senior year. As I stepped on the field I began to reflect back on everything that I had done to get myself to this point, hitting until my hands bled, playing 60-70 games a summer, bruises, sprained ankles, hurt shoulder and elbows, and I knew it was all worth it. Towards the end of the game I looked out into the crowd and saw over three thousand people standing, chanting our names, and cheering for everything that we did.
As I stepped up to the plate in my last at bat I was for one final time able to feel that feeling. It is the most magical feeling in the world, when I connect solidly and feel the metal of the bat give and hear the musical ping as the ball catapults off. Then watch as the pitcher whips his head around to follow the ball and the outfielders turn on their heels and chase it until it flies over the fence; hearing the crowd scream while trotting around the bases and finally receiving high fives and butt slaps as I cross home plate.
The final out was made, fireworks went off over the stadium, and we all celebrated. It was a bitter sweet feeling knowing I would never suit up again, but as I looked at my callused hands and took off my dirty hat I didn’t regret a thing. Every hour in the batting cage, day on the practice field, and Saturday at the park had helped mold me into the person that I am today, and that is why I believe in the magic baseball.
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