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Letters About Literature National Winners 2005

National Winner, Level 1: Mitchell Deck

Peoria, IL

Dear Mr. Keith Brandt,

I chose to read Lou Gehrig, Pride of the Yankees, because I really like baseball, and I was inspired by the way Lou Gehrig handled a disease that could not be cured. I wanted to know more about him and his life. After reading this book, I thought about his life and my life and about inspirations.

I discovered that as a child Lou had to spend so much time with his mom while she was working that he did not have much time to make friends. He did not speak English well and learned to make friends through sports. Playing sports is an easy way for me to make new friends, also. Lou was not a natural athlete because he was chubby and awkward. Since I am small, sometimes it is hard for me to play sports and compete with bigger kids. Lou would practice and practice until he got it right and, therefore, I feel if I practice very hard, I could also become good at sports.

At Lou’s school, kids picked on him because of the clothes he wore. He was too quiet to answer back and to defend himself. Sometimes kids make fun of me because I am short and I cannot do everything everyone else can. Lou Gehrig makes me realize that if I try hard, people will see that I can do things that they think I cannot.

Lou’s mother felt education was very important and wanted a better life for him. Although he was not a fast learner, he got good marks because he studied. My parents also feel that a good education is important. And I am not a fast learner. Even though learning was not easy for Lou, he worked hard and did well in school. I know if I also work hard, I can also learn to do well in school.

Lou loved to play sports but did not intend to make a career out of it. I, however, would like to make a career out of sports. Lou felt that an education was more important than sports and turned down many offers while in college. My daddy tells me that a good education is more important than sports and other things that I want to do. Lou makes me realize that my daddy may be right and a good education is important.

When Lou found out from his doctor that he was sick and could not be cured, he was still brave. He considered himself the luckiest man on the face of the earth. He had a tough break, but also had a lot to live for. This makes me realize that when things are tough and I have had bad things happening, I know that I am still lucky because it would have been a lot worse. When things are hard, you still need to be happy, work hard, and be good to others and then you will have a good life no matter what happens.


Mitchell Deck