Hits Her First Home Run: by Ted Plantos
in March 1989 by Black Moss Press
Guidelines and Ten Questions
story is about Heather who is playing on a tee ball team for the first time and
isn't performing well. Every time
she hits the ball, someone in outfield catches it. On one particular occasion, if she can hit a home run she
can win the game for her team. She
is very nervous but when someone on the other team yells, "easy out" her
nervousness turns into anger and she swings the bat as hard she can. This time, no one has caught the
ball. As she's rounding the bases
she realizes how much fun she is having.
Even though she gets out at home plate, three of her teammates were able
to score and her team wins the game.
Heather learns about determination and team spirit. This story teaches that you don't
always need a "home run" to win.
philosophical issues in this story include, the origin of emotions, the
different ways of winning, and the effectiveness of encouragement from others.
us sometimes have trouble understanding why we feel the way we do. Sometimes we are sad but think we
should be happy. Sometimes we are
happy but don't even realize it.
Questions 1, 2, and 3 deal with different issues surrounding
feelings. These questions are
meant to make the students think about5 why they feel the way they do. It makes them think about what sorts of
things make them happy or sad and what sorts of things don't make them happy or
sad. Question two tries to connect
feelings with actions. Sometimes
different emotions can effect the way we act, sometimes in a good way and
sometimes not. I use the examples
of playing sports and washing dishes.
Both activities are very different and different emotions can effect how
we perform them. If I am angry I
can guarantee that I will do a sloppy, careless job washing the dishes. But, if I were angry while playing a sport,
I would feel a surge of motivation and determination. This question is meant to examine why that is. Also, sometimes people feel a feeling
opposite of what they think they should be feeling. For example, sometimes children cry during their own
birthday party. Question three
addresses this issue. It also
connects feelings with outer appearances.
Very often it is easy to tell the way someone is feeling by looking at
the expression on his or her face, but sometimes it is difficult.
4 deals with what it means to win and why we like to win. What is it about winning that we
like? Is it the recognition we
see, or the personal satisfaction?
There can be a difference between winning and feeling like a
winner. The former implies
actually being recognized as the winner of something, for example winning a
race. The latter can have a much
broader definition. If I run a
race and perform better than I ever have before I will feel as if I have won in
a personal sense. The feeling of
winning the race is replaced with the feeling of personal success. Question 4 is meant to consider the
differences and similarities between these two notions of winning. It is also meant to question whether
being the winner is the best situation to be in. For example, if you were playing a card game with your
little cousin, does it ever feel better to let her win than to win yourself?
5 and 6 deal with parts of a whole and the importance of those parts. Question 5 first addresses the fact
that even though Heather didn't hit a homerun, her hit was necessary for her
team to win. In addition, it was
necessary for three of her teammates to have been on the bases when she hit the
ball. Both Heather and her three
teammates were necessary for the win and all were equally important. Was there anyone else who was necessary
for the win? What about the
pitcher? What about the
coach? This question is meant to
address the necessary and sufficient conditions needed for a baseball team
(this can also be applied to other things that require a "team" effort). Question 6 is using what was discussed
in question 5 and applying it in a different form. It also considers how things would be different without some
of its parts (I use the example of a house). This question can begin be asking what a house is. If you were to take away one aspect of
the definition would it still be a house?
What about if you take away 2 or 3? Next, the class can be asked about certain objects they may
have in their own houses. Are all
these objects necessary for a house to still be a house? In some cases, not all parts of a whole
are equally important, while in other cases, all the parts are equally and
necessarily important. Are all the
parts of a car equally important (the radio or air conditioner)? Are all the parts of a baseball team
equally important? Could you play
without a pitcher or third baseman?
7 and 8 talks about phrases that do not mean what they literally imply. The book's title implies that Heather
hit a home run, but she didn't.
So, what does the author mean?
Ask the students to give a sentence using the term "hit a home run" in a
sentence that does not involve baseball.
What sort of things can you do to "hit a home run"? Why would acing a test be considered a
home run? What do winning a
baseball game and acing a test have in common? Heather's friend tells her to "sting the ball". Does using a word like "sting" put more
meaning into what he said? This
also addresses what it literally means to sting a ball. How could an inanimate object get
9 and 10 consider the importance of encouragement from others. This can also be connected to the
questions that discuss feelings.
Sometimes it is possible to do things you thought you couldn't do when
you have someone cheering for you.
The encouragement from others can draw out strength in you that you
didn't know was there. Why is
that? Is it the loud noise? Is it
because of the people who are cheering?
Does it make a difference who is doing the cheering? These two questions are meant to
directly engage the class in analyzing why or why not being cheered for
1. Throughout the story Heather feels
nervous, sad, embarrassed, angry, and happy.
A. Where do
feelings come from?
sorts of things make you happy?
says that she forgot to be angry when she started to have fun. Have you ever forgotten to angry? Have you ever forgotten to have any
other type of feeling? Why? What made you forget?
2. Heather gets angry with Stevey when he
says that she's too weak to hit the ball.
When she is angry she hits the ball.
A. Have you ever done something better when you were angry (like
sport)? Have you ever
done something worse when you were angry?
B. If you were washing the dishes, do you think you'd do a good,
clean job if you did it while you were angry? Do you think you'd do it better if you were happy?
C. What is a good feeling to have while playing a sport? Do you think you'd do a good job if you
were scared? What about if you
were feeling brave?
3. When Heather was rounding the bases she
realized that she was not sad anymore.
She realized that she was happy and having fun.
A. Have you
ever been happy and not know it?
Have you ever been sad and not know it? For example, have you ever been sad to go to school, but once
you got there you realized you were happy to be there?
you ever thought you should be happy, but weren't? For example, have you ever not been happy at a birthday
party, or during a fun holiday?
you ever looked at someone and thought they looked one way, but they actually
felt another? Can people cry when
they're not sad? When? What are some of the ways of knowing
how someone is feeling?
4. Even though Heather got out at home
plate she still felt like a winner.
A. Why did
Heather still feel like a winner?
Would you still feel like a winner? Can you name different ways of winning?
you ever not wanted to win? Have
you ever been happier to see someone else win instead of you? Why did you feel that way?
you feel like a winner even if you did not actually win in whatever you were
D. If you were
on a baseball team would you rather score all the runs but still lose the game,
or score no runs but win the game?
What feels better, scoring a run or winning the game? Why? Which do you think is more important?
5. Heather hit a "four-bagger" and the
other people on her team were able to score and so her team won the game.
A. If Heather
hadn't hit the "four-bagger" the other people on her team wouldn't have been
able to score and they wouldn't have won the game, so who is more important,
the runners or the batter (Heather)?
Are they equally as important?
all the players on a baseball team equally as important? Can you play the game without some of
the players? Can you play without
of pitcher? What about without a
6. (Continuation of question 5)
A. Can you
think of any situations where no part is more important than the others? Can you think of something that
wouldn't work without all of its parts?
are the parts of a house? What if
a house didn't have some of these parts (say a roof or walls), would it still
be a house? Why or why not? What things do house have that they
don't need? Do they need
televisions and DVD players? Do
they need beds?
7. The book is called, Heather Hits Her
First Home Run, but she doesn't hit a home run.
A. Why is that
the title? Have eve heard people
say, "You hit a home run", when they weren't talking about sports? What were they talking about?
can you do something like hitting a homerun in baseball without playing
Heather's coach considered her hit a home run, even when it wasn't, is that
just as good as hitting a real one?
Is there a difference between feeling like you hit a home run and
actually hitting one? Which do you
think is better? Do you think
Heather would have been happier if she hit a real home run?
8. Heather's friend, Jeffrey, told her to
"sting the ball".
A. What did he
mean? How could she sting the
ball? She wasn't a bumblebee.
if she were a bumblebee, could she sting the ball? Can balls get stung if they don't feel the pain of getting
stung? What does it mean to get
9. When Heather was up to bat she got lots
of cheering from people around her (Jeffrey, her mom, her coach, and the people
in the stands).
A. Do you think
the people cheering for Heather helped her to hit the ball?
being cheered for ever help you do better at things? Does it ever not help?
What is it about cheering that helps? What about cheering doesn't help?
C. If you
were taking a test would you rather have cheering in the background or just
have silence? Why? How is taking a test different from
playing a baseball game?
10. (Continuation of question 9)
A. Why do
friends and family cheer? Do they
do it because they have to or because they want to? Why?
it feel different to cheer for someone you don't know as opposed to cheering
for a friend?
C. How do
you feel when you watch someone you know playing a sports game? How do you feel when you watch your
favorite team playing a sports game?
How are these feelings similar or different?