After all, she would eventually end up back at the bench. Why not take a shortcut?
Neither throwing, running, nor catching were her strong points. Running from base to base was slightly faster than a quick walk. Corrina's sweet smile and always sunny disposition won us over, even when she regularly didn't have a clue what was going on. We have good kids, good parents and good coaches on our team and Corrina was cheered and encouraged along with her teammates without an ounce of judgement.
After all, we do understand that the kids are out there to have fun. And with her constant smile, you could clearly see that Corrina was doing just that.
As the season progressed, Corrina's skills slowly improved. While she wouldn't be mistaken for one of the better players on the team, on-lookers no longer needed to stifle well-intentioned laughter each time she approached a play, tried to stop a ball, or attempted to hurl a throw in the general direction of someone waiting to catch it.
And then, in our second to last game, Corrina found herself manning second base. The batter hit a ground ball directly to her and Corrina bent down and scooped it up in her mitt. Someone, maybe everyone that supported our team, yelled, "Touch second base!" Corrina looked up toward the command, smiling her sweet smile, and hurried over to the base, pouncing proudly on the bag with both feet before the runner could reach it.
The runner was out.
Our side of the field exploded in applause. Every single person jumped to their feet, roaring with the excited jubilation that is normally reserved for a play that wins the championship game just as time expires.
There was no single play that garnered more praise than Corrina fielding that ground ball and jumping on second base before the base runner could reach it. Parents were still talking about the out when we next gathered to cheer on our children. The deft fielding and accurate throws that Chris made as regular as clockwork were honored, then quickly forgotten. Aaron's homerun-worthy hits that soared far over the outfielders' heads would receive a few shouted words of praise before parents returned to their conversations on the sidelines. But Corrina's single play, the only play she had made the entire season, had us screaming with joy. It wasn't just her parents that cheered or her friends, but every single person that supported our team.
And Corrina? She just offered us her sweet, simple smile and returned to the game.