Andre sat on the grass at the edge of the field. The last game was almost over and they were tied for the championship. His mother, Shawna, came over and quietly put her arm around him. “It’s ok, baby.” she whispered, “you are playing great!”
Andre got up, threw his baseball glove on the ground and stomped away. Tears rolled down his dark, refined cheeks as he put his hands to his head ad let out a loud, angry roar. His mom knew when to back off, Andre was like that. When he got too upset, the best thing to do was just to leave him alone.
She walked back to the bleachers, waiting for the long game to end.
Sitting in the grass again, Andre tossed a baseball from hand to hand. “Why?” he said to God, himself, maybe no one. “Why John? He was everyone’s friend, a great sport, a talented player.” Taking a deep breath, Andre slammed the ball down, and shouted, “Dammit, he was 15 years old!” Andre didn’t cuss. He took himself very seriously, he had plans, class, he had been raised right.
John had been his best friend. They had played ball together since they were 5 years old. Three weeks ago, the team was in the next to last inning and John had made a terrific double and stole third. When the next boy struck out, John had walked into the dugout and told Andre that he didn’t feel good.
“Just sit this last inning out, John.” Andre had suggested. Nothing happens in right field anyway and we are way ahead.
“I didn’t come to sit.” John smiled and headed out to practice throwing the ball with Andre before the inning started.
Suddenly, a mom on the bleachers touched Shawna’s shoulder and said, “Is something wrong with John?”
Shawna looked out on the field to see John running towards home, his mom running to him. Suddenly, a cloud of dust rose up as John collapsed and fell.
His mother was screaming . “Call 911! Call 911!”
The ambulance took forever. It must have gone to the wrong field, the Fire Department was right above the field. No one seemed to know what to do.
Now it was the championship, without his best friend.
Andre tried to block out John’s big family sitting at the hospital, rocking back and forth, praying, crying, waiting at the hospital, then the a doctor calling them into a private room.
When John’s family came out, holding hands, they were crying, holding hands. “Hes gone.” John’s mom whispered. “Gone.” She was in shock.
Andre looked at the scoreboard as he walked to to home base. He was the last hitter in the tournament. The championship was in his hands. He swallowed the tears that had choked him, took a deep breath and nodded that he was ready.
“This one’s for you, John.” he whispered as the ball sailed over the fence.