Tyler - Palatine, Illinois
Entered on June 3, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

Crack. The baseball hit the catcher’s mitt as I watched strike three go right by me. The frustration built up and I was ready to explode. I went zero for ten in my first ten at-bats and struck out three times. This year, my hitting was off to a horrendous start. If I wanted to keep my starting position on the varsity team I would have to improve my hitting. If not, there were two kids right behind me, eager to get a chance to play. But I was determined to hold onto my spot. The one thing I had that the two other players competing for my spot did not was determination.

I knew what I had to do. I knew how to swing a baseball bat properly; I was just not doing it. Starting that night, and every night after, I hit a good thirty balls off of a tee and into a net in my basement. My dad observed my practice, correcting some flaws in my swing. This became a daily tradition. After finishing my homework, I would go into the basement for about twenty minutes and just groove baseballs off the tee. Of course the work was tiring, especially when I would not finish my homework until at least midnight and still had to stay up longer to swing for a little. But I was determined to get better. And the determination paid off.

About half way through the baseball season, my hitting finally began to improve and my hard work began to pay off. In a heated game against a cross-town rival, I hit a home run to start up our offense, which would eventually score over ten runs. Also, in other key games throughout the season, I was able to drive in runners that were on base, something I was unable to accomplish at the start of the season. These runs batted in helped us win important games and come close to a conference championship. However, the true importance of my hard ward and determination would show in the playoffs.

Throughout the season, the entire team was looking forward to the first round of playoffs. However, we found ourselves without our explosive offense that has been present in past games. With a runner on second base, and a tie game, I approached the plate, hoping to score the run. In fact, I did more than just score the run; I bounced a hard hit double off the left field wall. And I owed it all to those long nights in my basement and the determination I had to get better. With some hard work and a lot of determination, anything can be accomplished. This I believe.