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I live to hit the ball, run the bases, and score a run for my team. Fast-pitch softball is the sport I play and in one particular summer about two years ago, the game I live to play, turned into a week of ducking for cover from thunderstorms and lightning, covering my face with a mosquito net, and screaming with agony with every itch tingling my body with pain. With every scratch, a new pink spot appeared. Those giant, pesky mosquitoes were killing me. Nebraska was not what I expected.
Just weeks before I felt the excitement of traveling to Nebraska, of getting to visit new sights, wearing shorts, and eating good food and meeting some fierce competition against teams from all over the nation. We expected to play softball on a state-of-the-art, brand new softball fields in a new sports complex.
Our team sat in the pizza parlor and ate and chattered like clucking hens about what to pack, and all the fun we were going to have, until the meeting came to order. Our team moms were ready to announce our team’s itinerary. The flight and room accommodations at the sports complex were explained and our packets with all our softball tournament information were passed out. With every new announcement our hands came up and we “high-five” each other. We felt butterflies in our tummies and we felt excitement as we eagerly counted down the days until our departure.
The day came; my jumbo, purple suitcase had everything from sunscreen to my two softball uniforms as well as my necessities: a rainbow of candy and my Ipod with all my favorite tunes. I met everyone at the airport in my hometown, San Jose, California. It seemed like hours before we boarded our plane, and off we went jetting through the clouds heading to our destination, Nebraska. When we arrived it was late, it was 1:00 am and we had just checked-in at the softball complex. We were tired, hot, hungry, and needed sleep, and we couldn’t see the sports complex in the dark.
Our rooms with bunk-beds left little room for our scattered suitcases, back packs and all our softball gear. A tiny space in the middle of the room was all we had to walk around in. There were fourteen of us plus our team mom in the room. We were like soldiers in a submarine in tight quarters.
Morning came, with uniforms on we stepped out to the sticky, muggy, hot weather. For as far as the eyes can see; nothing but cornfields surrounded us. A swampy lake was nearby. We ate breakfast and went to our designated field to warm-up. Our uniforms were stuck to us like sticky glue. Some of us couldn’t keep from scratching our bodies. Often we couldn’t hear the umpire or our coaches as small planes flew low. An airport was right next door to the complex and it was so frustrating.
We played the best we could, and we didn’t win many games. It was hard to play in extreme humidity and we were so thirsty all the time. But the cool part of our time there was how quick the weather changed from one minute to another. Dark clouds hovered over us. A flash of lightning, the crash of thunder, and the buckets of rain showered us. It was fun! Screams, laughter and ducking for cover was the most exciting adventure of this trip. Nebraska was unforgettable. It was miserable for us, but we made so many friends along the way; and as a team, we were like sisters.