Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Are you a trailblazer?

Dare to dream the impossible dream

By Antoinette Rainone

     As a coordinator of an art contest in my son’s school, I poured over dozens of student submissions pertaining to their dreams … what inspires them, who they want to become when they grow up. 

     Amanda’s drawing stood out. The fourth-grader drew a portrait of herself on a baseball field. But not just any baseball field. A Major League baseball field.

     Is there something wrong with this picture?

     No. In fact, there’s everything RIGHT with this picture.

     Amanda wants to be a Big League baseball player. And why not? Isn’t it about time the Majors got with the program and opened their tryouts to include women?

     Someone has to be a ‘first.’ History is full of ‘firsts.’

     On April 15, 1947, Jackie Robinson became the first African American to play in the Majors when the Brooklyn Dodgers started him at first base.

     On June 18, 1983, Sally Ride became the first American woman to journey into space as a NASA astronaut, blasting into orbit on the shuttle Challenger.

     Both Jackie and Sally were ‘firsts’ who paved the way for many others to follow their dreams. They became role models – true icons – who opened the doors of opportunity and showed us we truly do live in a world of endless possibilities.

     They were trailblazers who dared to dream the impossible dream. The world would not be the same without them.

     It’s never easy becoming a ‘first.’ Persistence and perseverance are key. Besides studying navigation, physics, astronomy, math, meteoroloy and computers, Sally was committed to rigorous physical training. She jumped from parachutes, practiced water survival, and trained in gravity and weightlessness exercises. All these skills helped Sally when she finally rode into space.

     It’s also never easy being a ‘first.’ There will always be people who oppose you. Even after Jackie had ‘made it,’ he faced a real threat every time he stepped up to the plate. Opposing pitchers threw at him all the time. But Jackie’s reflexes were good, and he dodged those mean-hurling fast balls aimed at his body. Fact is, Jackie didn’t let those hurls get him down. He kept stepping up to the plate, inning after inning, game after game.

     The world awaits many more firsts. The first woman U.S. president. The first astronaut to walk on Mars. The first scientist to develop a cure for Alzheimer’s.

      The first woman to bat in the Big Leagues.

      It all begins with a dream. Then it continues with a deep and unwavering belief in yourself to attain that dream.

      Amanda is halfway to making her dream a reality. She has already envisioned herself holding that bat, standing on that field, waiting for that pitch. As Sally Ride once said, “You can’t be what you can’t see.”

      You can do it, Amanda. CREAM IT! And as you get older, and start receiving advice from well-meaning adults, never lose sight of that ball. My hope is that you frame your portrait and hang it on your bedroom wall to inspire you every day. Keep your dream – and your passion to break barriers – alive in your heart, in all you do.

      Oh, and, Amanda, please save me a ticket when you make your Big League debut. My dream is to be the first writer to interview the first woman Major League baseball player.

       Find your wings … at any age.


  1. Just got finished reading about you and your mom on her first airplane ride and thought I'd come check out your blog.
    Hope Amanda makes it and I read your story about it. : )

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  2. Hello, Happyone. My December 4, 2013 blog post -- "The Birth of My Son" -- is Part II to the Guideposts article you read.
    Thank you for visiting!