General Fiction posted October 5, 2020

This work has reached the exceptional level
Which Is Better Than You Think. 743 words

You Are What You Are

by Cynthia Adams1

I remember a day in ninth grade that will continue to embrace me for the rest of my already-long life. I was raised with six siblings; all of us athletes with skills inherited from our very fit father. Making him proud was the childhood obsession of us all. That is, until we got older and discovered girls with sweet voices and boys with big arms. But that's another story. What I want to tell you happened before all that.

I made the high school softball team in ninth grade (nearly unheard of) and although I was only the backup to the backup center fielder, you couldn't wipe the smile off my face. I knew not to ask for a glove of my own because there wasn't enough money and I didn't want to see my parents lower their heads and look away. And anyway, it wasn't a problem because the coach always brought a box of used gloves that were commiserate with bench warmers' abilities.The team was having a good season and we "warmers" would be subbed into the later innings here and there. It was enough.

But then...during one particularly close game, the league-leading batter, our center fielder (Dottie Leroy) crashed and burned. They said she'd be out for the season with a broken ankle and just like that...
I was number two.

I was suddenly more serious, more observant, like a member of the President's Secret Service...ready to take over if the girl in front of me went down. But life went on as usual and I eventually lowered my guard.
About three weeks later, I got a call at home one night from Coach Liz who said Mary Feit (our now primary center fielder) was sick and I would be starting the next day. I froze. So it was a while before my family realized that something good and not bad had happened. There were congratulations all around and I went up to the room I shared with my jealous sister. On the way, I stopped to ask my brother if I could borrow his new glove the next day since he didn't have a game and I would guard it with my life. He was cool about it. Come to think of it, he was cool about everything: "Fonzie cool" before Fonzie was even created.

I didn't absorb a word any teacher said the next day. The two who knew me best, wished me luck and gave quick hugs. I walked the halls like the Undead, partly due to fear and partly because I had lathered myself with Ben-Gay at lunch so I'd be limber and it turned out I was allergic. Luckily, only moderately. I was itchy but hardly anyone noticed because I mostly kept my hands in my pockets and had covered my face with my friend's make-up. (That alone should have raised suspicion.)

At 3:00 sharp, I reported to the field, already exhausted because I hadn't slept. As the away-team, our opponents batted first. I picked up my brother's glove and tried to walk the long, long distance to center field like I'd seen Dottie walk it: "Don't bother me kid...I got work to do."

My time in center field that day can only be described as "miraculous." I ran my ass off and caught every ball that was anywhere near me...many with diving catches. That may sound impressive to you but only because you don't know that I had to dive because I had misjudged most of them. I also got a home run. We won the game and as I ran off the field, I was met with congratulations and hugs all around. Coach Liz informed me and everyone else that center field was now my position to lose and if I continued to play like today, I'd be Amherst High's starting center fielder for the next three years. "Speech...speech," they shouted. I was crying, but I managed to say:"It wasn't me! It was this terrific glove...anyone could catch great with it."

I looked down to admire the glove and noticed it was scraped and dusty. I panicked. What would I tell my brother?

I needn't have worried. I had somehow, in my nervousness, picked up one of the bench warmer gloves and had played the whole game with my brother's shiny new glove watching me from a distance. I swear there was a smirk on its face.

I Remember writing prompt entry
Writing Prompt
Begin your non-fiction autobiographical story or poem with the words 'I remember...' Complete the sentence conveying a moment, an object, a feeling, etc. This does not have to be a profound memory, but should allow readers insight into your feelings, observations and/or thoughts. Use at least 100, but not more than 1,000 words. The count should be stated in your author notes.



The best moment of my young life...maybe of all my life.
Copyright: Cynthia A. Adams 10/5/20
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Artwork by VMarguarite at

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