Hey everyone. This one is a little different. Many, many moons ago, I wrote a short children’s book and last year I rewrote it and submitted it into a literacy competition. And guess what? It didn’t make the cut. But that’s okay! I thought I’d share it on here and maybe your kids could read it and tell me what they like and didn’t like so I can improve it. As writers, we are always drafting and improving our work and thinking to ourselves “What can I do to make it better? Am I using enough juicy words? Should I be more descriptive? Am I showing rather than telling?”. If they wanted to send me an email with their thoughts and critiques, that would be awesome! I think it has potential but I need some serious help. I can’t wait to get some advice from the audience it’s directed to.
My email is firstname.lastname@example.org
The Baseball Bat
Malcolm Brett Judson
My older brother, Tuck, was the greatest baseball player I had ever seen. He could run and throw better than anyone in this town, county or world if you asked me! But, holy smokes, could Tuck crush a baseball with his lucky old beat-up baseball bat! And this bat was old. The grip was hanging on with a piece of old hockey tape. Sometimes, he’d swing so hard the top would pop off. But that didn’t matter. Tuck’s swing was smooth and more powerful than the world’s highest waterfall. He could hit a baseball over the moon! I watched his every move. I dreamed of one day being as good as my big brother. He was my hero.
I played for the Southport Southpaws, and we were one of the best teams in the league. I had made the team by the skin of my teeth (and I was missing four), so I didn’t get to play very much. I’d spend much of the game sitting on the bench munching on my favourite barbecue flavoured sunflower seeds and chasing foul balls into the thick forests filled with spider webs and thorns.
It made me really sad that I didn’t get to play very much. It felt just like that time my best friend, Stevie, moved away. But that didn’t stop me from dreaming of being the best player in all the land! I wanted to show everyone that I could be as good as my brother and maybe someday, I’d be even better!
I decided I needed to work extra hard to achieve my goals. I asked Tuck if he would give me some extra pointers. He really was the greatest brother. He saw how badly I wanted this. He took me to the ballpark every day to practice. Even the rainy ones. Tuck and I would bike to the ballpark to practice swinging and throwing. Sometimes we’d stay until the sun went to sleep and the moon woke up. He even took me to watch my favourite team, the Toronto Blue Jays, play after we finished practice!
With all the extra practice, I was slowly starting to notice some improvements. I was fouling balls off where I use to miss them entirely. “Am I getting better?” I thought to myself. I still wasn’t getting a chance to play in many games, though. This made me angry, like getting stung by a million bees. I wanted to just run away. When I did get a chance to play, I would get so nervous I would strike out. My hands and face would sweat so much it felt like I just got out of a swimming pool and like I was trying to pick up a baseball bat soaked in ten-thousand pounds of butter. This made me feel very discouraged, and I would get down on myself.
Even with all my hard work and determination, I still wasn’t proving to my team that I was any good. I wanted to pack up my glove and cleats, put them into a duffel bag and find the biggest bridge, over the biggest river and chuck them over, but Tuck wouldn’t let me. When I didn’t want to practice, it was Tuck who would drag me to the field. Pitch after pitch. Swing after swing. He kept telling me, “Hard work makes dreams come true”. He was older than me so I guess I just had to believe him.
The nights were getting cooler and summer was coming to an end and so was our season. We were in the playoffs now, fighting for the championship. It wasn’t until our last game that Tuck took me aside and gave me his old beat-up baseball bat. He told me that if I believed in the power of the bat, that I would hit a home run. I didn’t believe him, but he never let me use his bat before. I was just happy to touch it, but I could barely hit a foul ball. How would I ever hit one over the fence?
Our game wasn’t going so well. We were losing 6-3 in the bottom of the 9th. Coach Jones finally put me in, thinking that’s all she wrote. They had their best fireballer pitching. He was as tall as the dugout and looked more like a parent than a kid. But what do you know! With two outs, we had three straight base hits to load the bases, and I was due up.
I could feel the jitters running through my body as I dusted off my brother’s old beat-up bat and headed to the plate. I remember what he told me. I believed in the bat but more importantly, I believed in myself. I thought at that moment that I was the greatest baseball player in all the land!
When I stepped up to the plate, I didn’t have to imagine that I was The Sultan of Swat, The Behemoth of Bust, The Caliph of Clout, The Great Bambino. The legend, Babe. I just believed in ME! My name is Everly, and I am the greatest of them all! I wasn’t scared or nervous as I glared back at the pitcher.
I settled into the batter’s box, kicking up dirt with my cleats. I waited patiently for the pitch. The first one came in, and I swung that old bat with all my might….…SMACK! I hit the ball square in the teeth, and I just stood there and watched the ball soar as high as the clouds. The crowd was so still that I could hear the baseball fall to the ground, on the other side of the fence.
I had done it! I just hit a GRAND SLAM that won the game for us! The Championship was ours. It was the greatest moment of my life! My teammates jumped and cheered for me in excitement as I ran across the bases. I scanned the stands in excitement looking for one person, my brother. I finally found him, leaning against the bleachers on his bike, as he smiled and waved to me.
Tuck was the first person waiting for me after the game. “You had it in you this whole time,” Tuck said. “You just had to believe in yourself and never give up, no matter what obstacles you faced. You’re my hero!”, Tuck said. My cheeks nearly burst my smile was so big. I thought to myself “That’s what I’ll do. I’ll never give up on anything. Not in baseball, school or life!”