Inning 3 ★ History In The Making

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By the time lunch rolled in, I was exhausted.

"I want to go back to the days of pee wee practice and Bob's All Star."

Ellen's eyes shone instead; she lived for academic achievement in much the same way I lived for the diamond. "This year is so gonna rock. I'm going to show everybody just how much Princeton material I am."

I patted her head the way it pissed her off, but she was so ecstatic that she forgot to tell me off. "Wow, you mean it."

"Dead serious. Senior year is going to be my year. School newspaper, yearbook, volunteering, debate club, almost all AP classes and a full scholarship. You'll see."

"I know people who could use with your enthusiasm."

We sat outside on the bleachers absorbing the sun we were missing out on while cooped up in class. A battlefield of gutted out books surrounded us, because learning never stopped for Ellen Young. Meanwhile I looked out at the cheerleaders having some sort of huddle on the football field. The same group of girls cheered both the football and baseball teams and made an occasional appearance at wrestling meets. But their real goal was to win cheer trophies.

"Can someone get scholarships based on cheering?" I asked my best friend.

She ignored my question. "Who were you talking about?" When she realized I was confused, she clarified. "People who could use with my enthusiasm?"

I shrugged and laid back on my elbows, tossing my head back and letting it rest on the higher step behind me. It wasn't humid anymore but the sun was as hot as my shower this morning. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath.

"You know who I'm talking about."

"Hmm."

"Changing topic," I said. "I talked with my dad last week about the idea I had."

I heard rustling as she shifted on her seat. A book fell down and we both jumped. She apologized and then said, "well? Did he love it yes or yes?"

"That's not the impression I have." I sighed. "I asked him again this morning before you arrived and he said he'll think about it. What is there to think about? I mean, he sure could use with all the help he can get. The team this year is, well, not a team. It's a bunch of individuals with no one to admire. And he knows, he knows, just how much I want this."

I flailed my arms around, almost smacking her. She yelped but evaded my flying hand deftly.

"Besides, you're great."

"Exactly," I said. "The world is missing out on how great I am."

"I'm sure he'll come around." She grabbed the fallen book and put it on the pile next to her. "And I mean, you'll still be coaching the pee wees, right?"

I gave her an incredulous look. "You don't mean to say I should settle for that?"

"Hell no, you have colleges to impress too."

Fuck yeah. Then I said it aloud a few times in a row.

This summer I officially became the head coach of the pee wees, elected by the parents' association. A bunch of adults in the neighborhood recognized that I, Peyton O'Hare, could be a damn fine coach. They didn't care that I was seventeen or a girl, they trusted me with their kids' time and development as baseball players. It had been a wonderful shitshow, complete with a rocky start and lots of booboos. But it was just a taste of what I really wanted for my future. I shifted around so I could see the diamond field behind us, still closed before the tryouts later this week. I couldn't play, but I could definitely be behind the scenes.

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