Swing the Bat

Many years ago, I played Little League baseball in a small New England town where I grew up. Let’s just say I was a slow developer when it came to sports. I started playing “major” baseball at age 10 and back in those days, we had kids pitching. Since the league had 10-12 year olds playing, some of the 12 year old pitchers were taller than my dad and I think they even had to shave occasionally. As you might imagine, they were usually a little bit on the wild side. So walking up to the plate, my main concern was to avoid pain.

Standing in the white chalked batter’s box , I looked intently at the pitcher and thought with my incredible telepathic skills as I muttered the words in silence, “please don’t hit me”.

As the pitcher wound up and released the ball, my first move was to step away from the plate. This allowed the pitcher to have a little more room for error.

Sometimes I got lucky and the pitcher missed the plate completely. Once in a while since I rarely got off the bench, I was fortunate enough to watch four pitches zip by me that were out of the strike zone. With a walk, I was able to trot my skinny body in a baggy uniform down to first base. I had great dreams and visions of hitting the ball but the only swings I could muster came from a position of weakness. I was stepping backwards and flailing awkwardly as the ball popped or muffled into the catcher’s mitt. So my entire season resulted in one hit. I was such a gamer (sarcasm). Thanks to the one bunt single, I finished the year up at .050 for a batting average. That is 1 hit for 20 at bats.

Why I remember this, I will never know. My baseball career lasted another couple of years until I picked up another club and was able to swing without someone throwing the ball. I was a little better at golf, but not much better!

Why do I share this story of my athletic prowess? Believe it or not, it is to tie it all into life and the dreams we have to be successful. You see many of us are in essence standing in the on deck circle with a bat getting ready for our turn at the plate. That on deck circle is filled with thoughts running through our mind. We might be super positive and can only envision that ball getting smacked solidly by our bat and being catapulted into the air at 100 MPH while leaving the field and landing well over the fence as a home run. The crowd goes wild!

For some people, they only think positively and see a positive outcome all the time. Then there is the rest of us. We have doubts. We overthink. We question why we are even in the game. We ask if we are good enough, talented enough, ready enough and much more at times.

We worry about failing. What will people think if we swing and miss? Will people laugh at us? Will they remind us that we aren’t anyone special? Will we hear the “I told you…”? So instead of walking up to the plate with confidence, we let fear take over. We then think that we are OK. We say things like, “Life is pretty good after all. I may not pursue my dreams but I live a pretty good life and I will settle for that”. I am not judging here. I am just asking the question for you to answer when you are alone, without fear of anyone listening and judging you. ARE YOU HAPPY with that?

Kid in a baseball

When I was too old to play baseball, I reflected on the missed opportunities to swing the bat. I couldn’t go back to the ballpark and put on that little baggy uniform again and walk up to the plate. Those days are long past. But if I was there, I would risk the pain and stand in that box and go after it. After all, the worst that could happen is that I would get stung by a wildly thrown ball or I would swing and miss. But what if I swung the bat and got a hit? Maybe I would have had a completely different outcome. I thought the worst and you know how that turned out. I predicted my own outcome.

In the much bigger, more important game of life, will we look back at our younger days and dream about another chance to stand tall and have the bat ready to swing, and then swing? Think about your dreams. Do you have it in you to write a book, play an instrument, start a business, grow a business, get married, find a life partner, start a nonprofit, move to a better area, or have some other reoccurring thought in your mind?

Selling ourselves is one of, if not the biggest sale we make in life. If we sell ourselves on the idea that we aren’t _________ enough (fill in the blank with the word you might have used) we are predicting our own future. On the other hand we can say that we are capable. We aren’t any different than people throughout history who have pursued their dreams and achieved them.

Success is loving life and daring to live it.” – Maya Angelou

Give this some thought. We all have heard the stories of people who have reached the end of the game and wished they could do things differently. The TV shows, the live streaming channels, the sports channels, the mindless scrolling on the phone, are pretty much all watching others live the life they want to live. Do we dare to live the life we desire? To strive to be our best? Do we want to swing the bat? If we miss, shall we swing again? Isn’t that a better way to live, knowing we stood at the plate and gave it our best swing every time?