Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Playing Fast-Pitch With The Universe

I was never much of a baseball player when I was a kid. I was always decent at it, but I only really joined little league to placate my father. I would never have been considered a terrible player until my last year in the league. I was ten years old and had started the season in a slump, often hitting the ball right to the first baseman. This subjected me to terrible ridicule from my team-mates and it sapped my confidence not only in my batting ability, but in all other areas of play.

I spent the rest of the season living in fear of pop-flies in the outfield and worrying about swinging and missing. Whenever I came up to bat, I would just stand there. I was fairly short, so my strike-zone was small, which made it difficult for pitchers to throw inside it. I got walked a lot and my teammates couldn't really complain about it as long as I was getting on base.

By the time the last game of the season had come around, I had developed a reputation for never taking a swing. Watching the entire outfield walk in and position themselves on the edge of the infield did something to set me off. I was tired of leaving my the decisions of my own fate up to random chance. I was tired of being the Universe's bitch. I was going to take an active role in determining my own destiny. For better or worse, I was going to take a swing. If I went down, at least I went down swinging.

But, I didn't strike out. I actually connected with the ball and knocked it over the center fielder's head. I rounded first, blatantly ignoring the first-base coach's orders to stick there. I blew through second and was prepared to round third when the third-base coach physically restrained me from running home. The happiness I felt when I heard the excited cheers from my team-mates nearly made my heart explode with pride. And it seemed that a shot of confidence was I needed to get my mojo back because, during the rest of the game, I hit the ball and got on base at each at-bat and even caught a pop-fly in the outfield. I earned the game ball that day, but, even if I didn't, even if I had struck out each time and dropped the ball in the field, I would have been happy that I had finally grown a pair of balls and given it a shot. The risk was minimal because it was the last game of the season. But the payoff was huge.

The lesson here is that you need to take an active part in shaping your own destiny. Allowing the Universe to unfold as it wants to isn't going to get you very far. So, call your corner. Take your shot. And swing for the fences.

No comments:

Post a Comment