By Joy Hancock

            Homer, the turtle, sat in the bleachers and watched the team practicing on the baseball diamond.  He dreamed of playing, too.

            When the ball was fouled into the bleachers, Homer caught it.

            “Good catch.  Would you like to play with us?” the pitcher asked.

            “I’m too slow.  With my home on my back, I can only plod along,” Homer said.  He threw the ball back.

            “You should play if you want to,” the first baseman said.

            So Homer played.  The team made him the catcher.

            Homer caught the pitcher’s fastest balls.

            Homer tagged out the best runners from the other teams.

            Homer threw the ball straight to his teammates.

            And when Homer was up to bat, he could even hit the ball . . .

            But before he could walk to first base, he was tagged out.

            “I don’t see how I’ll ever make a run when I can’t run,” Homer said and hid inside his shell.

            “Keep practicing,” the third baseman said.

            Homer practiced, and he hit the ball farther each time he played.  But before he could walk to first base, he was always tagged out.

            “I wish I could make a run,” Homer said.  He hid in his shell again.

            “Give it another try,” the shortstop said.

            “Don’t give up,” an outfielder said.

            So Homer practiced even harder.

            Then, one game, Homer hit the ball so hard, it flew out of the field . . . and over the fence!

            “Home run!” the team shouted.

            Homer plodded to first base.  He plodded on to second base.  After a while, he touched third base.  And, as slow as ever, Homer plodded on to home plate.

            “I made a run!” Homer shouted.

            “Hurray! A homer for Homer!” the team cheered.