Cooperstown, NY

Today I entered my first Wattpad contest, which had the following prompt:

Your challenge is to create a 500-word short story about a time you felt successful, despite the odds being stacked against you.

Below is my submission! It’s a true story from my baseball days and forever a great memory. The lesson — which I hope is perfectly clear and has guided me ever since — is that hope is never lost until you decide it is. Enjoy!

11 years ago, baseball was my entire life. The diamond was the place I could escape and create and battle alongside my brothers. In a lot of ways, what writing does for me now, baseball did for me then.

My favorite memory from my days playing that game is also one that taught me a lesson I’ll carry with me throughout my life.

During the summer of 2006, the coach of my travel team assembled a group of players to go to Cooperstown All Star Village to play in the national tournament there. Teams from all over the country came to camp out and play ten games for the chance of winning it all.

For the first few games, we cruised by and won each contest — that is, until we played the team from Texas. Consider that my first experience of everything being bigger in my future home-state.

These boys definitely had the size on us and since we were deep into the tournament at this point, we were running out of options at pitcher. So, despite my not being a go-to choice, it had to be me that would be thrown in against the big Texas bats.

If you think that’s the extent of the hill we had to climb though, you haven’t even heard about the first inning . . .

Without getting so much as an out, my pitching debut in Cooperstown began by giving up two three-run home runs AND a grand slam. So at 10–0 by the bottom of the second, consider the odds to have been officially stacked.

As you can imagine, at this point my confidence level wasn’t all that high. My teammates couldn’t have been thrilled either, though they’d never show me that and kept supporting me throughout. In my mind, our championship run would be ruined and it was all my fault.

Enter — my dad.

Once I was back in the dugout, head in my hands, he approached me from behind the chain link fence. Instead of giving me some kind of epic speech though, what he told me and the teammates by my side is that he bet one of the fathers on the Texas team a beer that we would still win the game . . .

Cue my eye roll, my teammates’ hilarity, and the understanding that even now we were still in this game because our heads were back in it.

What came next wasn’t just a thrilling comeback, but a 20–0 onslaught in which we made a statement that this tournament was ours. The game ended 20–10, and from then on we kept our foot on the gas all the way to an undefeated National Championship title.

In the end it taught me that there’s always hope if you want something bad enough.

Perhaps most importantly though, my dad got his beer! And even though I was only 13, I understood just how sweet it must have tasted.

Thanks for reading!

Post source and more from the author: here.

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