Meet Melanie, another new character on the blog. Melanie is a fourteen-year-old girl who has just moved to a new town and is trying out for the high school softball team.
Melanie was an easy character for me to write. I’ve played softball my whole life, and I’ve coached for the past eight years or so. Most of my work is with girls who are 12-16, which is an interesting time period for girls. While they’re usually snarky and irritable with their parents, I’m lucky enough to get their nicer side. They tell me about the boy they like at school, the “mean girls” in their class, and how their parents don’t get them. I listen and give a word of wisdom or two, knowing I would have listened to someone like me before I would have paid any attention to my parents at that age.
It’s funny how they all have such different personalities, but face the same basic insecurities and decisions. Of course, they all think there are other girls who have it easier because they’re prettier, or more popular, or have a boyfriend. One day they’ll realize every girl feels the same way at that age. That’s one thing I’ve learned now that I’m older and can sit back and watch them.
So, Melanie and the other girls in her story are loosely based on my own experience at that age and those of the girls I’ve coached. No one character is based on any one person in particular, in case “my girls” (as I like to call them) are reading this. If my girls are reading this, however, please do me a favor and remember that there are bound to be Melanie’s and Julie’s as you’re trying out for softball this summer. Be the terrific people I know you are and make them feel welcome. You’ll feel better about yourself, and you just might make their day a little easier.
Stepping back to admire the clothes I’ve laid out for tomorrow, I can feel my heart racing with anticipation. I’m more excited than nervous about the first day of softball tryouts at my new school.
I’ve never had to start at a new school before, but I’ve decided it’s the best thing that could have happened to me. I get a clean slate. No one here will know that last year I cut my bangs myself and had to walk around school for weeks with my too-short, uneven look. They won’t ever see me with braces or without makeup; I left that ugly-duckling version of me back in middle school, in my old town. I get to be a whole new Melanie Clark this year.
Tomorrow I’ll wear my travel team practice jersey and they’ll all watch me, curious to see what I can do. I could be the star pitcher at this school. Then, they’ll all want to be my friend. When classes start in two weeks, I won’t have to worry about making friends, I’ll already have them in my teammates.
As I lay staring at my ceiling, begging sleep to take over, I keep telling myself the flutter in my stomach is excitment. Okay, maybe I’m a little nervous. I’ll just do all the things that likeable people seem to do. I’ll compliment the other girls when they make a good play, laugh at their jokes, and I won’t be shy. It’s all going to be fine, I just know it is. Continue reading »