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Zero to Six
Why do people help each other even when don’t get anything from it?
My cousin and I walked side by side. We went all the way to the cricket field and saw nobody. Oh, c’mon, I thought, we have to go back already, without even playing a game? On the contrary, he led me to another apartment.
I was in India for the fifth time. Only this time was different. My parents had not come with me. It was my first day at my cousin’s house and I was already out with him for a game as if I lived there.
“Ring the doorbell,” my cousin said, eager to get a good game of cricket going.
I put my finger on the dull, orange colored doorbell. The three notches carved into it for grip were rough. The second I pressed the button it resounded with a single strike of a bell and was silent. A boy came out of the top balcony. We frantically waved our arms to grab his attention.
“COME ON,” we bellowed from the ground. He turned his head and smiled.
“I’ll meet you guys at the field in a minute with some other guys to play.”
This time we scrambled over to the field, knowing that we were going to play a fun game soon.
To be put nicely, the field looked unkempt. There were two brick buildings on each side with broken windows at every level. The grass was half dead and looked as if it was never cut. The only reason that it was down was because thousands of feet trampled it every week, keeping it close to the ground. Around the edges were thick weeds that looked like they were living in a five-star hotel. They were tall and straight with dark green leaves protruding it every couple of inches.
We stood in the center while the captains pointed at people in turns, to pick their teams. I was picked last because nobody knew how I played. When there were two people left in line, I looked to see who was next to me. To my surprise it was Sid. He was the one who we called over to the field. He didn’t look too happy to be picked last. That’s like it is back home, I thought, all of them care about who was picked first and who was last.
I went up to bat, confident that I was going to show everyone my talent at this sport. This was like baseball wasn’t it? Would this new bat and home plate really make that much of a difference? I tapped my bat labeled “HONDA” on the ground, indicating that I was ready for the bowl. The bowler dug in ¬and threw a slow ball, right in the middle. Yes, I thought, Perfect. I had the notion that I was going to hit a 6 on that ball. Then I whiffed. I completely missed the ball. Then the crowd went wild. Not literally the crowd ,only the people on the field and I again had the same feeling that if I did that at home, my friends would have done the same thing. Everybody kept laughing for a long time. Then something unexpected happened. Sid came up to me.
“Hey, do you want to learn to play for real now?” he asked.
“Sure,” I answered
He took me to the side of the field where nobody was playing.
“Take the bat,” he said. He handed me a medium sized bat that looked really expensive. It was blue with red stripes and had some cool designs printed onto the back.
“That one is mine but it’s a good bat to play with so just be careful”
“‘Kay” I replied, too mesmerized by the bat to say more.
Over the next hour he showed me how to grip the bat so it didn’t slip, how to hit it short and to the side, and how to hit it high and far. These were the three most important things to be able to do in cricket because you can either hit a ball to the side and try to run for points, or you can hit it far and try to get a six. Getting a six is like getting an easy homerun. I knew that my technique had improved but I didn’t know whether it would help in a real game.
After the game where my “talent” came through ended we decided to play another one. This time Sid was a captain. He picked me first.
“You better do well,” he muttered, jokingly.
First it was our turn to bowl, which was pretty much fielding. When a ball was hit sharply to the right side of me, I extended my legs and made an awesome one-handed catch. My teammates walked to me and clapped me on the back as hard as they could. My prestige was slowly rising.
Finally it was my turn to bat. I went up sweating; sure that all the time I had spent learning from Sid was going to go to waste. The bowler dug in as I tapped my bat against the ground. He threw a spinning ball that bounced hard in the dirt, making a cloud of dust and dirt rise in a puff. I relaxed; this was exactly how Sid had taught me. I took a step the way that the ball spun and swung. CRACK! The ball shot off like a rocket. Six runs! I dug in and got ready for my next bowl. I did amazing. The balls were flying up, down, left, and right, as I teed off on the bowler. The coaching really had helped.
I learned a lot from just those two hours that I was at that field. Sid taught me that helping people without gaining anything isn’t that bad and will really help that person in the end. While it seemed like I was taking all the glory for myself, I was really thanking him the most of all.