Denying the Truth

When all star softball player, Hope, gets diagnosed with cancer, she denies the truth for as long as she can still function like an average girl. Fidem, a young girl with more courage and optimism then anyone, is a young girl also in the hospital for a brain tumor that just won't go away. As Hope gets to know Fidem, she begins to learn the real meaning behind the word Hope, and the meaning that Faith has in the world.

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1. The Love of the Game

"You might scare me, you might beat me, you might even tell me I can't,

but there's one thing you will never do; steal on me." - Anonymous

     "Coming up to the plate next is number 26, Hope Amare,  Hope has been playing softball since she was 3, and has traveled to all 50 states to play multiple tournaments.  She has also traveled to 6 of the seven continents to play and introduce softball to unprivileged children to the game she loves so much.  She's been voted MVP for her teams over 20 times, and has a batting average of 748/1000.  She truly is an all star player!"

     I advanced to the plate, my bat purple and red streaked bat swaying in my hand.  The roar of the crowd thundering behind me.  My heart was racing 110 miles an hour, but I wasn't afraid.  If anything, I was determined.  The Tigers had been our long time rivals, and we were going to beat them to win this tournament.  If we did, this would be our 25th tournament we had gone undefeated in.  A new record for girls softball.  

     Looking the other teams catcher in the eye, I couldn't help but smile.  She knew I was a better catcher, and that they had no chance.  I measured my bat to the plate, taking my sweet little time as well.  Finally, I got ready to swing.  Being catcher had it's advantages, especially when you had caught for 10 years.  I saw the pitcher's wind-up and knew exactly where the ball was going.  As I prepared to hit, a pain caught my left side, but I payed no attention as the ball cracked against my bat, like a whip cracking through the air.  Taking off running, I watched the course of the ball, and jumped when I realized that it had gone over the fence.  The already roaring crowd got even louder, if that was even possible, and I slowed to a jog, all the way around the bases. 

     My whole team was gathered at home plate, and I was received a huge hug from my best friend Felicity, who was my pitcher.  We had played together since we were toddlers, and practically knew each other inside and out.  Heck, you could say we were one person.  We all ran back to the dugout, and Felicity was up to hit.  I began to get my gear on, but it only took about 30 seconds to get strapped into everything.  It gave me enough time to watch as Felicity hit the ball to the far outfield bringing in another runner by the time they got the ball back in. 

     I watched my coach.  He signaled to her that it was time we gave the other team a chance to hit a little before we won.  Hat, left shoulder, right shoulder, chest, hat, ear, shoe.  Our indicator was the ear, and the shoe meant "out".  So Felicity ran when Pattison hit a grounder to second, and got tagged out.  Of course, we all knew what would happen so non of us were too shocked.  As she came in, we shared a fist bump.

     "Ready to beast 'em my friend?"

     "Oh yeah.  We're going to crush them."  I answered back.  Walking onto the field together, we split; her heading to the mound, and me heading to the plate.  I took position, and my body acted like a well oiled machine.  This was my home.  I thought.  This is where I belong.  We had 6 warm-up pitches so I went through the signals and the pitches.  I signaled the curve ball with my fingers counting out the number.  3-5-2-3.  She nodded and delivered.  Right into my waiting glove.  Yes.  I thought.  This is going to be the best game in the world.  Then that pain in my side flared up again.  It's just the adrenaline  pay attention to the game, it'll go away.  Sure enough, once I thought about it, it did.  

     The first batter walked up to the plate, and the umpire called it.  I heard the commentary begin, but all I could think about was the game.  Bottom of the ninth.  Wolves still ahead by 6 runs. Tigers falling behind, can they be saved?  Coming up to the plate number 7 -  I ignored the rest of whatever they were saying.  Shifting all my weight to my right ankle, I positioned my glove where it would curve just into her strike zone at the very last moment.  7-8-2-4.  Curve, downward.  Nodding, Felicity winded up, and released, and as I suspected it curved just at the last second, landing into my waiting glove.  Strike 1!  Exclaims the umpire.  

     Felicity strikes number 7 out, and the nest hitter hits it right back to our shortstop getting out.  Now, it was down to the final hitter.  One out away from winning this tournament undefeated.  Strike 1!  Strike 2!  Yes!  Common Felicity!  You got it!  I call the fast ball, and she releases.  Everything slows down.  The ball inches to me, and I watch as the batter swings.  I already know that it's not going to make contact.  It was just a little too low, and a little too fast for this girl to hit with that swing.  Reaching out, I snatch it from the air.  The crowd goes up in cheers.  

     Shock over takes me and I stare down at my glove.  Sure enough, the softball was laying perfectly in my catcher glove.  Like a little baby in a cradle, it was perfect.  Suddenly, my whole team bowls me over in a hug, and raises me and Felicity up chanting our names.  Laughing, we held hands and cheered with them.  

     This is my game, and nothing will ever be able to take that away from me.  No one will ever be able to make me stop playing.  Ever.

 

 

 

 

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