Baseball season is in full swing (pun intended), and while I retired my own glove and cleats a long time ago, recently, I found myself back up at the plate. I had entered the batter’s box feeling a bit timid, but with each pitch, my confidence grew. I began to relax my stance and made contact with the ball. Hit after hit after hit. That is, until one pitch threw me for a loop. The curve ball.
This was not a baseball game, though. It was life. My life. And just like a baseball pitcher, life can, and will, throw a curve ball sometimes. By definition, a curve ball is a pitch thrown with a strong downward spin, causing the ball to drop suddenly and veer to the side as it approaches home plate. It also can be defined as something which is unexpected, surprising, or disruptive. Whether on the baseball field or in daily life, a curve ball can cross the plate at any given time. So. batters beware, and be ready.
The curve balls that life tosses us can appear in many different forms. Some are major league ones. Chronic illness. Loss of job. Death. Some are minor league ones. Traffic detours. Travel delays. Minor slight by someone.
Regardless of what kind of curve ball that life throws our way, there are options:
Connect for a hit. A curve ball may be more difficult to hit, but it is not impossible. Facing a difficult situation head on and taking action can result in a grand slam, or, at the very least, a base hit, but we have to be willing to get our head and heart in the game and swing for the bleachers.
Swing for a miss. Some curve balls leave us swinging wildly and blindly, when we take our eyes off of the ball. We forget everything we know. We forget what to do. We forget who we are. We panic. If we can take a moment to step outside of the batter’s box to regroup, we can get back in, and try one more time. If we keep flailing, we will strike out and miss our chance.
Stand and let the ball pass you by. At times, letting a curve ball pass by is warranted, as it may not be in your strike zone and may not be worth the energy and effort it would take to try to hit it. Patience and time can be a dynamic duo when confronted with a curve ball.
Take your ball and go home. After facing a curve ball, there always is the option to simply quit. Give up. Go home. Only that option is rarely as simple as it seems. If you quit, it is game over, and you may have missed the chance of a lifetime. And sometimes, there are no second chances.
When faced with this most recent curve ball, I first swung for a miss. I admit it; I went into panic mode. I allowed my anxiety and insecurities to replace any semblance of rational thought, and I was at a loss how to react. It definitely was not my finest moment, but it was just that. A moment.
On the heels of swinging for a miss, I contemplated taking my ball and going home. That option, although initially tempting, would prevent more curve balls from being thrown in this particular circumstance, but it also would take me completely out of the game. There are too many more innings to be played for me to bench myself, so, I decided to stay in the game.
Once I made the decision to remain on the field, I decided to increase my chances for connecting for a hit. I resorted to my tried and true tactics for recovering from a curve ball. Being patient with myself, the pitcher, and the curve ball itself. Leaning on trusted friends for support. Trail running. Spending time with myself. Writing. Losing myself in music. All of the usual suspects.
It remains to be seen whether the end result of this particular curve ball will be a hit or a miss, but I know one thing. I would rather face a curve ball than stay safely in the dugout. The batter’s box is where life happens, and that is where I want to be. Batter up!
That’s another story . . .
Categories: That's Another Story