It is always hard to move into a new area where you do not have any friends at all. The city is new, all the stores are new to you and even the school systems are new. Everything is different and it is a major change for any adult not to speak of young people. So it was with the Tilton family. They had lived on a farm in the Deep South when Mrs. Tilton became very sick. They had to move near a hospital where she could receive proper care.
Mr. Tilton worked in the hospital in the radiology department and Mrs. Tilton was a school teacher until she became sick. The new hospital required longer hours for Mr. Tilton but he was glad to find a place that could give his wife the medical attention she must have. They had one son named Michael who was thirteen years old. Michael was had a very pale complexion and hair that was almost white it was so blonde. He was a very thin boy but his heart was filled with love. He quickly missed his old home with all the old buildings and the woods surrounding it.
Michael’s first day in school was a disaster. All the new boys made fun of his white hair and his skinny body. He thought the teasing would stop after a while but it did not. He was not accepted by the “click group” of boys who ran the school clubs and playground. Day after day he was teased and humiliated until he finally decided to speak up for himself. What did he have to lose?
It happened as the boys were playing baseball and the girls were watching. It was Michael’s time to bat and he struck out.
“You are nothing but a drip just like the water dripping from that spigot over there!” A big boy name Tom spewed out in an obnoxious taunt.
Michael tried to hit the ball but he just became more nervous when the teasing began. The pressure became unbearable so Michael went to talk to his father.
“Dad I am not happy here. All the boys at school call me “Drip” just like the water dripping out of the spigot. I get so nervous I can’t perform like I should. I’m ready to move back home.” He whimpered as the tears began to pond in his eyes.
“Son, let me tell you something. A drip of water comes out of the spigot, but so does gushing powerful water if you turn the spigot wide open. The force of the water is so powerful it will move sand, gravel and even stones out of its way. You stop thinking about the drip coming out of the spigot. Think instead of a gushing force of water coming out of it. You are not a drip. You are a mighty force for I have seen you hit a baseball as hard as any young man. Don’t listen to negative words but turn them around to positive ones. Those people who do this have a very poor attitude and are not as intelligent as you are. Take control of this situation and dry the tears. I’m coming to the next game and see how things go.” His father continued.
“No Dad I don’t want you to come. I will do what has to be done when the time comes.” Michael said as his lips quivered.
“Remember the saying by Mark Twain. It is not the size of the dog in the fight; it is the size of the fight in the dog that wins the battle.” His father reminded him. I would give too hoots and a holler for a man who had never has his face smeared in the mud. I would rather have a man who has been knocked down a dozen times and got up even if he is all bruised and battered.”
“Pressure makes diamonds Micheal! That is the words of George S. Patton one of the greatest men in America. He fought harder than any man to make America free. Remember him and go out there and win this war!” Mr. Tilton smiled.
Michael lay in his bed that night tossing and tumbling. What would the next day bring?
As usual things began as normal at school. Michael kept quiet enduring the needless teasing. Enduring that is until it came time to play ball.
“Batter up!” The coach called. It was time for Michael to bat. The bases were loaded and the harassing words from the guys in the dugout sounded over the field.
Slowly Michael got up and walked over to the spigot. He turned the water open as fast as it would go, then turned and picked up the bat. His hands gripped tightly and his eyes glared intensely at the pitcher.
The pitcher threw the first pitch and then the second. Michael hit both but they were fouls. He dug his shoes into the red dirt and took a deep breath. The pitcher threw a fast ball and Michael swung. He heard the sound of the bad as it connected to the ball. He didn’t wait to see where the ball went but ran as fast as he could run.
Suddenly the girls in the ball field began to scream loudly cheering Michael on. He made a home run winning the game and the gushing water from the spigot flooded onto the ball field.
“I don’t measure a man’s success by how high he climbs but how high he bounces when he hits bottom.” George S. Patton
Question: Why did the boys call Michael a drip?
Written by Sybil Shearin
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