What’s the importance of state lines? Is it to separate two groups of people? What would be the criterion that separates the two groups? I’ve always been one to badger other states as compared to “my old Kentucky home”, but this summer I spent most of my time in Indiana, and I learned that the differences are few and far between.
The Indiana Stingers softball team contacted me and easily persuaded me to join their team. The first meeting was set up and we made the journey across the river to meet these Hoosiers. When I walked into the warehouse, I was greeted with blank stares. Everyone had a comfortable plush chair while I had the pleasure of sitting on the cracked wood flooring. While mostly staring at my feet, and occasionally glancing at my future team members, I wondered if I’d ever become friends or even talk to any of them. After the meeting, not one of the girls introduced themselves to me. I left thinking, “I can meet these rude people later.”
I began traveling to Hoosier Land for indoor practices. Since I forgot my bat, I had to actually open my mouth and ask to borrow a bat from these snobby people. The lender of her precious bat was Megan. Megan was the daughter of one of the coaches so I concluded that she had to be nice to me. She always granted me access to her bat, saying that it was no problem if I took a few cuts with it. When outdoor practices started, she would offer to pitch and catch with me because if she didn’t I would be stuck tossing a ball in the air above me and catching it. Her saying, “Hi,” always made me feel like I truly belonged on their team. She broke the barriers between the two states with these small actions; Megan probably didn’t even realize how important her actions were to me.
As the summer months came, I forced myself to open my lips and utter syllables to members of our team. We began to converse and discovered some similarities: we were in high school, we played softball, and we loved to laugh and joke around. We teased Megan about the way she wore her hair the day we visited an amusement park. Of course, my accent was the topic of many conversations; the way I said “slut” like “schlutt, “schnickers” instead of “snickers”, and apparently I say “fixin to” all the TIME. They teased me about my accent as if I were from another country, not another state.
“Blonde trapped inside a brunette’s body,” is the way we described Marisa. We would tell outlandish stories just to see if she would believe them. One girl on my team, Danielle, became one of my closest friends this past summer; she now swears that she talks like me. I had more fun traveling with my Hoosiers than hanging out in Kentucky. God must have placed me on the wrong side of the river.
These state lines are a mistake. They separate people that are too similar to be governed differently. I will never forget my Hoosier teammates or the memories we shared. During the course of our travel ball season, the summer became less about softball and more about making new friends on and off the field. I found out that the boundaries’ purpose wasn’t to separate people, but to make people curious enough to explore past their comfort zone, which was my state line, and discover our differences don’t make us adversaries.
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