www.whyville.net May 1, 2011 Weekly Issue

Times Writer

Strike Three, You're Not Out!

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The smell of freshly cut grass and dirt blow past you as you walk up to the plate. You clutch your bat in your hands, which are shaking just a bit. The pitcher winds up, ready to throw, and then launches a strike. You watch it go by, regretting the fact you didn't swing.

The next pitch comes over the plate, but a little high. You swing anyways. The count is now 0-2, and your third base coach is drilling it to you to protect the plate. Your heart beat starts to increase as the pitcher winds up what you are almost positive will be a fastball. You swing with all your heart, only to find out the ball had landed firmly in the catcher's mitt. "Strike three, you're out!" the umpire calls from behind the plate. A sickening feeling washes over you as you slink back to the dugout; some things can be really disappointing.

Whether you have faced disappointment during a sporting event, musical or theatrical performance, or just in a sticky situation in general, I'm sure you know that horrible feeling you get. You will start to feel down on yourself, and might ask yourself resentful questions. "What did I do wrong?" "How could I of done better?" "What am I going to do?" During the first couple minutes following the disappointing moment, you may feel embarrassed. It can be very humiliating to "mess up" or "make a mistake", but keep in mind that things happen for a reason. There will always be a tomorrow, and there is always room for improvement.

A wise quote I found online says this:

Courage doesn't always roar.
Sometimes courage is the quiet voice
at the end of the day saying,
"I will try again tomorrow."
- Mary Anne Radmacher

This quote really touched home for me, because I am known to get very disheartened when I goof up. The world comes crashing down on me, and I start to surround myself with negative thoughts. I might reflect too much on the past, and I might not be willing to improve myself. If you are like this too, keep in mind that struggling situations will come, but they will go. No one is going to remember, for example, a game losing strikeout. Sure, they might be a little upset, but life goes on.

One of my friends, who plays the clarinet and the flute, often goes to music competitions. She is very, very talented, but doesn't always win. She has her off days, her wrong note moments, and like everyone else, she isn't perfect. What she is, however, is very positive. Whenever she comes back from a competition, you can't tell if she's won or lost based on her body language and tone of voice. She's as chipper as ever, and is a really good example to me of how I want to act when I lose or disappoint myself.

Feeling disappointed with others can be harmful not only to their feelings, but to your own inner thoughts. People can tell when you are upset with them, and it can affect the way they overcome their troubling time. They are probably just as disappointed with themselves as you are with them. By acting hostile towards them or by acting annoyed with them, their self esteem can suffer greatly. The way you can make somebody feel better about themselves after something upsetting happens, is either by helping them shrug it off, or by being there to talk with them about it.

Yesterday, my brother had a home-run derby. This is a contest where you get 10 pitches from a pitching machine, and then see how many of the pitches turn into home run hits. My brother, who is one of three star players on his team, went up to the plate. He and I are left handed, and we've often had to have pitching machines tilted a bit before we hit so that the pitches won't be too close to our bodies and the handles of our bat. (Most pitching machines are set to pitch closer to the left corner of the plate, so right handed people can hit the ball with the barrel of their bat, which is the best place for the ball to touch your bat if you are trying to hit a home run.) No one tilted the machine for my brother. Almost all of his pitches were to the inside, and he ended up with no home runs. He was devastated, and could hardly keep his head up as he left the plate. Just as things were looking the absolute worst, a kid tapped my brother on the shoulder.

"Hey Nate, those pitches looked really hard to hit; better luck next time." My brother stifled out a small smile, and said thanks. He was still in a rotten mood for a while, but I could tell that the kid, who just said a small little remark, made a difference in Nate's self esteem.

We should all try to be that kid with a few nice words up their sleeve. It can really make a difference in someone's day when they're feeling low. You don't have to say anything extravagant or out of your comfort zone, but keep in mind that even the simplest of positivity can help someone.

Life is full of disappointments and upsetting times, but by pushing the past behind, you can overcome your hardship. Having a positive attitude can help change your day, and it can help other people feel better about themselves. Wouldn't you like to be the reason someone put a smile on their face? I know I would, and to this day I am trying to be that friendly person and that girl with the positive attitude. It can be tough, but I know I really can overcome obstacles and rough times, and I know you can too.


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