The Ol’ American Classic
Two years old, I sat in front of the TV, mesmerized by the majestic contest before my eyes. My frail two-year-old memory fails to recall the victor of the game, yet I am confident that one of the teams competing was the New York Yankees. Although I live in Flushing and should be a Mets fan, my dad grew up in the Bronx and instilled the pinstriped pride in me from the moment I crawled out of the womb. Regardless, following the game, I implored my dad to take me out to our park and play baseball with me. He brought the tee, but I knew my skills were too advanced for that childish object. Reluctantly, my dad threw the ball to me, and I miraculously made contact. Since this moment, my life has revolved around the sport of baseball. I remember sitting eagerly behind the computer, reloading the Bayside Little League website every five minutes, checking if I had qualified for my first travel team. Since then, playing travel ball has consumed each of my summers. Thus, baseball has been the center of my life for as long as I can remember.
I love the sport for many reasons, the first being the game itself. During the season, the games dominate my thoughts. In class, I often find myself practicing my form to make my motions fluid and majestic like those players I was first introduced to on the screen. On the field, every throw I make, every swing I take, and every ball I catch, I cherish. There is no other feeling that rivals getting a clutch hit to drive in a few runs, or striking someone out to end the inning. Luckily, I have experienced both of these on a regular basis due to my striking athletic ability.
The second reason is the social aspects the game entails. Although I have sensory issues that caused me to be shy at a young age, baseball has helped me overcome this. Now, I would consider myself to be a very social individual, if I say so myself. Playing on a field with teammates in a game that requires communication forces one to break through their shell. Working with each other and getting a team win that incorporates everyone on the field is the quintessential game one can partake in. The relationships I’ve formed in my years of playing baseball are some of the best in my life.
Lastly, baseball has provided me with numerous opportunities, specifically service opportunities. Service is another tenet I live by. When I was five-years-old, I endured a severe case of appendicitis and was hospital-bound for months. However, the Ronald McDonald House of Long Island provided a temporary residence for my family during these trying times. As a result, I’ve always felt indebted to repay the House and other service organizations to help others the way the House helped me. One particular organization I truly enjoy assisting is the League of YES. Three summers ago, my travel team, Hanks Yanks, worked with the League, which provides an opportunity for children and young adults with special needs to enjoy themselves and play the game of baseball. Thus, since it combines two of my passions, baseball and service, the League holds a dear place in my heart. As a volunteer, I am paired with one or two children per game, and I enjoy building personal relationships with them, and rekindling those relationships week in and week out. Witnessing the pure joy these individuals experience after I fix their swing and help them hit the ball is truly endearing. As such, I do everything I can to help the League. I eagerly obliged when asked to spearhead expanding the program, and heading a committee for their Walk-A-Thons.
Ultimately, I owe much of my life and the benefits I have reaped to the sport of baseball.