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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Sport or Fitness (02/15/07)

TITLE: Voices of the Game
By Amy Michelle Wiley


Westbrook, Maine

The radio boomed through the open family room windows, filling the backyard with sound. Jimmy yelled even louder, holding an imaginary microphone to his mouth as he echoed the sportscaster.

“This is it, folks! This is the game we’ve all been waiting for. The Yankees face the Red Sox in just one minute!”

“Positions!” Dad waved his hands at his spread-out family. “Adam, you’re up to pitch first.”

“Donnelly up to bat. Farnsworth pitches. Donnelly swings. Solid double! It’s off to a great start, folks! Off to a great start!”

Buda, Texas

Sarah slouched in the back of the church, wondering what had possessed her to come. Whoever heard of watching a baseball game in a church anyway? The sudden cheer of the crowd startled her as the tiny ball on the screen soared high, a tiny white dot against the sky. Just a speck, easily unseen, easily unnoticed.

“He’s rounding first base and headed for second. The outfielder is scrambling for the ball…he’s got it!”

“Hello, I’m June, are you new here?”

Sarah jerked away from the screen. “Oh, yeah, I guess.” Someone had noticed her?

“I’m glad you came.”

“Donnelly slides…he’s safe! Just in the nick of time!”

Beaverton, Oregon

Jenna only knew a couple of the teens filling the room. She perched on the folding chair, avoiding eyes, pretending to watch the game. She fought the bile that rose in her throat, choking on the sickly-sweet smoke that clogged the air. Maybe Kyle’s parents would come home early. Her eyes found the front door, wanting it to open. Willing it to open.

“The based are loaded! Mussina pitches.”

A form stepped in front of the TV. Jenna looked up. Right into Kyle’s blue eyes. Her heart flip-flopped. She reached mechanically for the packet of white powder he handed her, ignoring the tremble of her hand. She didn’t bother licking her finger first, it was wet with sweat.

The powder clung to her, thick as the guilt that weighed her soul.

“Pineiro swings. Foul ball!”

Manhattan, New York

A single tear dripped down Melanie’s cheek, as if her heart had finally cracked and allowed a hint of emotion to seep through. For months now she had told herself everything was fine. She could handle it.

Melanie snuck a glance at Jake, hunched toward the TV screen. She wondered idly if he would actually notice her if she shouted as loudly as the sports announcer.

“The crowd has gone wild! The Yankees are ahead by two runs! Watch carefully, America, this next pitch could decide the game.”

Her sob was audible this time. She fell forward, letting her shoulders shake with inner pain. Where was the joy of the American dream? Why was it so empty? What had she done wrong?

“Drew is having trouble today. We’ll see if he can connect with the ball this time. Here it comes...it's a curve.”

Jake didn’t notice when she left the room. Didn’t notice as she emptied her drawers, or even when she dragged the suitcase down the stairs. She paused at the front door, wishing he would come. Straining to hear her name.

Only one sound reached her ear.

“Three strikes. He’s out!”

San Diego, California

Daddy’s voice was getting louder. It seeped through Ben’s bedroom door, angry and snarling. Ben turned up the radio.

“The Red Sox still have a chance. Timlin’s up to bat. Can he pull through for his team?”

The fist hit the wall first, setting Ben’s models rattling. Setting Ben’s heart pounding. He stood. Took a step toward the door.

“It’s the ninth inning. Time is running out for Boston.”

The fist was quieter this time. Sickening. His mother’s muffled cry twisted his stomach. Tomorrow she would hide the bruise, say it was her fault, that she shouldn’t have provoked him.

It came again. Ben froze. He could only stand and listen. Listen and wish it would stop. Wish it wasn’t so.

Finally it did stop. But that was worse. Silence. What if Daddy’d really hurt her bad this time? What if she was dead?

Ben should have done something. He could’ve stopped it. Could’ve at least tried.

“Rivera pitches wild. Timlin holds. Ball three!”

He heard movement in the kitchen. Relief weakened his legs. She was okay. This time she’d made it through. This time she’d lived.

“The Yankees take the victory! It was a close game, America, a close game.”

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This article has been read 2127 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Sally Hanan02/22/07
Very good entry. We are so wrapped up in our own little worlds that we forget that there is so much going on at the same time in other places. This would be a great piece to highlight the importance of listening for prayer direction, even for people we don't know.
cindy yarger02/23/07
Creative take on the subject. I liked this. Well done.
Suzanne R02/24/07
The way you've weaved so many different stories linking them by the game is masterful. It is a good reminder of the world outside our own door. Well done.
Allison Egley 02/24/07
Oh, this is really good. I really liked how the "action" and emotion in the stories built up with the action and emotion in the game. As others have said, this is also a great reminder to watch and pray for those around us of which we might not take notice.
Marilyn Schnepp 02/24/07
The sound of Sports from sea to shining sea; with family fun, loneliness, drugs, break up and family violence all wrapped up in one game! So creative - but what is the message? I surmise, ponder, conclude...hmmm? Yes! That's a thought provoker; well done!!
Jacquelyn Horne02/24/07
I didn't quite get this until I read the first comment. But that's not surprising, I don't get a lot of things. Yes, the pov was a good one, it was the reader this time who was lacking.
Shari Armstrong 02/24/07
A very cool -love the common thread..this one takes more than one read to really get it all -a lot there!!
Joanney Uthe02/25/07
There is so much here. I liked the line about the illusive American Dream mixed in with the "great American past-time".
Joanne Sher 02/25/07
What an amazingly neat and OOB idea for this! It took me a bit to catch on, but once I did - wow. Great stuff!
Jan Ackerson 02/25/07
What a marvelous way to use this topic! This is simply outstanding.
terri tiffany02/27/07
Great job!! Very Creative and good writing!
Verna Cole Mitchell 02/27/07
This was a very creative take on this topic. I enjoyed the trip!
Sara Harricharan 02/27/07
Oh wow! This is powerful. There is so much packed into this piece, but packed so expertly you don't even realize it. I loved the switching POV's and how it all integrated into the big game. Very creative-awesome writing! ^_^
T. F. Chezum02/27/07
Very creative powerful and well written. Excellent job.
Donna Powers 02/28/07
There is so much here. Each piece intrigues on its own and together they are a rich tapestry of experience. Thanks so much for sharing it
Elizabeth Bussey03/01/07
Excellent weaving and emotionally charged. I could relate in more ways than one.
Sara Harricharan 03/01/07
Congrats! ^_^
Mo 03/01/07
I usually stop reading when I get to something too negative (I prefer happy endings), but this one sucked me right in -- all the way to the end. Well done. & congratulations on your win.