Jonathan Joy

The Ashland Beacon


   Ginny had only been up to bat a few times this season, and she’d struck out every time. 

   She was skilled when it came to practice, but Ginny froze up at game time. 

   Strike 1! Strike 2! Strike 3! Ginny struck out looking over and over again. 

   How do you think this made Ginny feel? 

   She was frustrated, to be sure. Upset. Sad. 

   All of those ill feelings Ginny had bottled up came bursting out one day, when at long last she swung that bat hard and made contact. 

   Ginny’s bat didn’t just make contact with the softball, but she hit it harder, I dare say, than any softball has ever been struck. 

   That ball soared up into the air, high out of sight, and never came down. Ginny rounded the bases while teammates, coaches, and parents stood starting at the sky. They were all waiting for the ball to drop. It didn’t. 

   Ginny had hit the ball and sent it soaring northeast where it flew from West Virginia all the way to New York, over the tip top of the Empire State Building in New York City. 

   That’s not all. The ball kept going. It sailed clear across the Atlantic Ocean, a mile in the air above Big Ben, the biggest, most accurate clock in the world, in London, England. 

   Next, swift winds blew the ball far southeast where it blasted right past an ancient temple called the Parthenon in Greece.

   The ball Ginny hit didn’t stop there. It continued eastward. 

   Eventually, that ball soared high above the two most populous countries in the whole world. Do you know what they are? India and China, both which boast populations of over one billion people each. Over these countries, the softball spied the Taj Mahal, that most majestic monument of eternal love, and a portion of the nearly 4,000 mile Great Wall of China. 

   That softball Ginny had popped kept going, on a long journey high above the Pacific Ocean, the largest and deepest ocean on Earth. It continued on its way back to America.

   Ginny’s softball flew above the clouds over Hawaii, and through the girders of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. It kept going over one state after another, the Great Plains, the Midwest, and more, making its way back home to good ole’ West Virginia. 

   By the time that ball plopped back down to Earth, the game was long finished – Ginny’s team won – and everyone had gone home. Everyone but me. I just sat there in the stands several hours later waiting for that ball to drop. And drop it did, right on home plate after a trip around the whole, wide world. 

   Maybe you believe me. Maybe you don’t. Some people say I have a tendency to exaggerate. But I know Ginny hit the ball that day. Hit it hard. Out of the park…far out of it. She might not ever hit another home run again, or maybe she’ll hit lots of them, but she’ll never forget that first one. 

   Keep at it kids. In softball, and in life, sometimes you gotta strike out a whole lot before you finally get a hit. But when you finally do swing, swing hard. Aim for the sky.