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Young Writers Project: Favorite Moments in Sports



Age 17, Corinth
Monday, January 15, 2018

Young Writers Project is an independent nonprofit based in Burlington that engages middle and high school students from anywhere in the world to write, to express themselves with confidence and clarity and to connect with authentic audiences. YWP publishes local writing every week in this newspaper; through YWP’s website, youngwritersproject.org, and monthly digital magazine, The Voice; before live audiences; and with other media partners, including vtdigger.org and vpr.net. YWP is supported by this newspaper and foundations, businesses and individuals who recognize the power and value of writing.

This week’s prompt: Sports. Describe a memorable moment playing your favorite sport.

The Birkebeiner

Last year I was fortunate enough to race in one of the most famous and largest ski races in the world. This race is called the Birkebeiner, a tradition started in 1932 in honor of a group of Norwegians who, as legend has it, long ago skied a similar course, risking all to get the new-born king to safety and eventually saving him from the vicious invaders in the south. To commemorate this feat, every racer is required to carry an 8-pound pack throughout the entire race.

The apartment my ski team and I were staying in was in Lillehammer, two hours away from the small town of Rena, where the 54-kilometer race was to start. At five o’clock, we woke up and carried our skis, poles and backpacks, fully loaded with 8 pounds, to the bus that would take us to Rena.

When we arrived, everyone was buzzing with excitement. This was one of the largest and most famous races in the world, and an experience that none of us will ever forget. … As there were 16,000 competitors, the race was split into 16 waves that went out every five minutes. We were in the 15th wave, and we were hopping with excitement. While we were on the line, a lady with a microphone came over; I did my best to greet her in Norwegian but since a simple greeting was about all I knew of the language, the conversation soon switched to English. She then pointed to my name on a piece of paper and asked if it was indeed my name, and I said, very surprised, yes. She went on to tell me that I was the youngest competitor in the entire race. I was speechless; what are the odds that I would be the youngest of 16,000 competitors? She then went on to interview me about what it was like to be the youngest; I, still wrapping my head around the fact, probably gave a stupid answer looking back on it.

Although this was incredible, the best was yet to come! The race had yet to start. The horn blew and the race was off! The countryside was spectacular: rolling hills and small pine trees as far as the eye could see. As we topped the first mountain, I looked back to see the thousands of people stretched out like a giant snake carving through the countryside. This was by far my most memorable moment in sports and maybe the most memorable memory ever — the perfect Norwegian countryside with thousands of people behind me and ten thousand more ahead! It is hard to even imagine.

Baseball on a beach

It was at a beach, a soft, sandy-white beach, the weathered brown pier that carried me over the grass gently creaking in the back. The gate was squeaking from time to time. The tranquil waves were gently rolling in and out, smothering the edge of the sand with water. The salt-scented air wafted by, filling my body with excitement and memories. Above me, seagulls flocked for a bite to eat and squabbled with each other. Sandpipers scurried across the sand looking for a snack. Boats flew from wave to wave off the key, their destinations unknown.

It was just my dad and me and the smooth, white baseball, an old friend that you know will always be there. Gloves in hand, we began to throw, talking about anything and everything as the ball sailed through the air from glove to glove. Not a care in the world, just two people enjoying life.

That’s my favorite memory of my favorite sport — baseball — on a white, sandy beach on Longboat Key, feeling connected not only to my dad but to everything around me, the beach, the waves, even the squabbling seagulls.

Softball

Throughout my experiences, I have come to realize that you don’t just pick your favorite sport, it picks you. I’ve also learned that you don’t just wake up in the morning one day and decide that it is going to be your favorite sport, it takes time, dedication and hard work to finally find that the sport is yours.

You devote your time to your craft, which becomes your life.

My favorite sport is softball.

It’s a game of timing, and a game of complete and utter suspense. The game isn’t timed and broken into quarters. The game is played at a unique pace as the result of each and every player's reaction. There is no buzzer or whistle, just the rhythm of the pitch hitting the mitt, interrupted by the umpire’s need to speak on his view of the pitch as a ball or strike. …

Read the complete story at https://youngwritersproject.org/node/19506.