Posted by: Staff | 01.08.2009

College Essay XVII: by Kat Rosenthal


My green iridescent skirt clings to my black nylon tights. Swiftly and quietly I pivot my feet on the heel of my patent leather shoes to the F and G pedals. With my black velvet shawl wrapped around my nine year old shoulders, I reach out and pluck the first chord to “Good King Wenceslas.” I can hear my mother’s instructions echoing through my brain, “Sit up straight, elbows out, and don’t forget to smile.” I try hard to focus on the music so that the guests would be amused, but as my digits dance around the strings, my mind was focused on the playing field.

Music first! was my mother’s motto. I had a practice regimen that could not be broken. Every morning I rose and ventured into the music room. There awaited my mother, glasses perched on her nose, sitting in a yellow armchair; Sunday coupons in one hand, metronome in the other. I would sit down on the stool, stretch my arms and place my hands near the strings. Gracefully I reached my fingers forward and touched them. One finger at a time, hand over hand I started my arpeggios. Little did my mother know that as I practiced I was staring out the window, admiring the boys playing catch.

When I told my mother that I wanted to play baseball, her face turned gray as if she had just seen a ghost. I could see the images flashing through her head: concussions, sprained ankles, and worst of all, a broken finger. She didn’t even have to say anything. I knew what her answer would be. No way would I be able to play baseball, to partake in an athletic activity. I groveled for months. I wanted to play baseball more than anything in the world. At last, my father stepped in and my mother caved. I was allowed to play.

I started my baseball career on a sour note. I was not very good, at all. In fact, one could go as far as to say that my skills were atrocious. For the first few weeks of my rookie season the only position that I seemed to excel in was bench warmer. Every practice I came home, downhearted and dirty. My father noticed how discouraged I was and decided that it was time for some fatherly words of wisdom: “Don’t quit; the harder you try, the better you will become.” I listened to him and at every practice I strived to hone my skills to become a better athlete.

My day came. It was a warm spring morning. My coach saw that it was time for me to start in left field. In my mind it was such an upgrade from the normal appearances I made in right field. I was ready for anything the Rockies were going to bring my way. As the bottom of the eighth rolled around, my Mets were up by one, and the Rockies had the bases loaded with two outs. I could feel my heart beating in my throat as our pitcher delivered the ball to the Rockies’ most formidable batter. As the ball left the mound, I crouched down in the ready position. That’s when it happened. A screeching line drive came flying towards deep left field. I ran back with my glove out and reached over the back fence. I felt the ball fall into my glove. I squeezed it closed with all my might. I had caught it. My dedication paid off; fingers intact and a game ball in my possession, my team charged into the outfield and carried me into the dugout as my parents cheered on the sidelines.

At seventeen, I am proud to say that I can slide my fingers down the animal gut harp strings into a beautiful glissando just as well as I can slide across a dirt-encrusted home plate to score the winning run.

If you would like to submit your own essay, either anonymously or attributed, please send an email to Ali Cooper or Michael Firer.



  1. cool

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