He was an older man in the church we attended. If I did know his name, I don’t remember it now. But I remember him. I remember his voice. He always greeted me with, “Hey, Slugger!”
I was just a young girl. I threw like a girl. I hit like a girl. And I was proud of it. I loved it. The sport was fun, but I think it was more the sun. The freedom of summer. The belonging with the girls. I suppose it was the first time I belonged to something bigger than myself.
When my parents divorced, it seemed this church decided to break up with us as well. I didn’t understand. My mother didn’t understand. It was subtle at first. Doors dropped in front of us. Coffees cancelled after services. We didn’t belong anymore. In a place where all should be welcomed, we were forgotten, all but for this one voice. This old man, who still saw me. Still called me by my heart. Still recognized the strength inside me. Didn’t see me as broken, but a fighter, possibly even a winner. Those two words, “Hey, Slugger!” — the most Christian words I ever heard.
Yesterday, we went to the home of the Louisville Slugger. I didn’t buy a bat. I didn’t need one. I know who I am. I have faith. And I am strong.
I want to be a voice that gives you hope, gives you strength. You can do this! We can do this! I believe it! C’mon team!