Red Sox Nation Teddy Peters
I can’t pretend that I know hardship. True hardship. I’ve never experienced blatant racism, had to learn a new language just to survive in a country, seen a war-torn nation, or even had to worry about when my next meal would be. In that sense, I’m just some white kid from a small town who doesn’t know how the world works. I cannot know these things, but I can draw from my own life to relate to the lives of others. I can compare even seemingly unrelated things to gain understanding of the things others must endure. In my life, I have seen many occasions in which a group of many different people from different groups, different backgrounds, and different lifestyles have come together to achieve a common goal.
I’ve played baseball my entire life. I play for an AAU team, and I’ve played in the town’s league since t-ball. In 2017, I was put on the Red Sox. Not the actual Red Sox, but all the teams in our town’s league were named after MLB teams. Also on the Red Sox was my best friend, his brother, and two of our other friends. Not only that, but six other boys who I barely knew. There was us, and then there was them. The team dynamic was strange with these groups, and no one knew how to act.
I remember the first practice. We did the drills awkwardly in silence. Some people had been playing for years. Others were at their first ever baseball practice. After a few more similar practices, we played our first game. Needless to say, we got destroyed. We were playing like we were all on different teams, and the other team was coordinated and smooth. We went home feeling defeated.
After that, something was different. All of us now had a common experience and something to prove. We started talking more. We got to know each other, and suddenly we weren’t strangers anymore. We were a team. We weren’t a very good team, but at least we were together. We got better. Practice after practice. Game after game. Until finally we barely scraped a win against the Royals. We were ecstatic.
After that, our team began to play with some confidence, and our teamwork was only getting better. We began to win game after game until the playoffs. Still, we won, and found ourselves cheering after the semifinals game, hoping we could win it all. The championship game loomed over us like a huge, nerve-wracking shadow. We practiced and worked hard, becoming more like a team until the day came.
It was a hot, sunny afternoon. We stood on the first base line, staring at the Pirates as the National Anthem played. We took the field, and soon the first inning was over. We were playing the best we ever had. Hitting ball after ball, scoring run after run. Cheering each other on the whole time. We found ourselves smiling on the bench as the coaches discussed whether they would allow a mercy rule in the championship game. They decided against it, and good thing too! My friend and I hit back-to-back home runs directly after they decided to keep playing. We won the game, and cheered as we thought about how far we’d come.
Our world is, in many ways, very divided. There’s lots of pain and suffering being endured by many groups of people. Everyone has a different story to tell. No matter what someone’s story is, where they’re from, what they look like, or how they act, we are all people. And people can stand together. This nation is a nation of differences. This nation is a nation of that Red Sox team. A nation of strangers who can achieve great things if they work together. I can’t say that I know hardship. But I can say that I know unity.
© Teddy Peters. All rights reserved. If you are interested in quoting this story, contact the national team through this website and we can put you in touch with the young person's teacher.