I remember when my dad took me first to the Jamie Johnson baseball field. My older brother Jacob couldn't stop stompin' his feet at home plate. I watched him bow, smile, and wave to his pretend crowd, and laugh when I caught him doing so. "Ri-ley." he whined when he climbed tot he top of the bleachers; only to find me picking at my nails. "Jacob Harvey." for I had just  learned how to spell and correctly pronounce our last name, "Can I play, too?" Jacob turned around and stared at the torn down and, empty field. "It's only for boys, and you're a girl. Sorry Riley." He hoped down the bleachers and made his way back onto the field. I wanted to play so badly and not matter how hard I tried to tell myself "no," I had to feel the warm "baseball sand."
    
   My dad started teaching me when I was six. Jacob was nine, and all the boys from Cannon Elementary seemed to run to the field when my dad parked his Chevy. I clung to my dad like a sticker and no matter how many times he'd let ,e dangle so he could bat, I could still smell the "baseball sand."


     As soon as I grew, I saved my money. From helping my dad unload his truck to cleaning my room, my jar of pennies and dollars filled. I soon received my first baseball cap, my dad's. Then a bat, then a ball, then a glove. My bedroom walls still stayed pink but my insides stayed as brown as the "baseball sand."


       "Kate! Come on!" It was the last day of seventh grade, and the warm California air rushed up my nose. My best friend Kate and I hopped into the trunk of my dad's Chevy. Our backpacks were smashed in the trunks corner, and I slid my glove onto my hand, gleaming. "Can you believe it's June?!" Kate watched me throw my ball into the air and catch it. . I laughed, "No, when are you leaving?" Kate was leaving for her "Dance Camp" ina week, I wondered what I would do without her. "Five days," she sighed, "But then we'll have the rest of the summer to play out on the field!" She caught the ball I was throwing and grinned. The "baseball sand" wouldn't be the same without her. Even if she was gone for just five days.
 





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