In baseball, a pitcher throws a fastball when they want to get ahead in the count. Thrown hard, a fastball is straight and powerful, relying on location location to throw off the batter; low inside, high outside, and it changes with every pitch. Fastballs come hard and quick, but when the batter makes connection – look out.
Curveballs, on the other hand, rely on technique. Pitchers use curveballs when they want to frustrate the batter .Slower than a fastball, a curveball combines with gravity to
start high then drop down, making connection challenging, but all the sweeter when it happens.
To me, life can seem like a baseball game. I’m up at the plate, bases loaded, two outs. Pressure’s on. I’m not sure what’s coming at me, I just know I don’t want to strike out. If I can’t connect, I at least want to go down swinging.
Like a baseball player, I have clear focus and a lofty set of goals for my life. Some could even be considered the equivalent of moving up into the major leagues someday. I suppose that’s the beauty of being my age-I’ve lived enough and made plenty of mistakes to have a clearer sense of what I need to do to get where I want to be-and then the curveball comes.
I’m still at the plate. I scan the field, hear my teammates shouts of encouragement. I know my family is out there somewhere, cheering from afar. I want to connect. First pitch: fastball. Strike one-but at least I swung. My pen quivers in my hand as I prepare for the next pitch. The field transforms to my garden, as I gaze out the window for inspiration. How do I tell my story? Who is out there ready to read it?
Next pitch: fastball again. This time, I connect-but it’s a foul tip. As I step back from the batter’s box I see my published essay, and smile at the comments from my readers. The count is against me: no balls, two strikes. I know what’s coming next…
The curveball comes slowly at me, topspin creating an exaggerated sense of speed. I know it’s gonna drop, but I can’t track it. Moving side to side, or up and down, I can’t tell where it’s going to break. Should I swing and risk the strike out? My goals flash before my eyes; I see the list carefully crafted at the beginning of each year, urging me to take a chance. I see the three sets of eyes, two blue, the other brown, gazing at me with love and neediness, searching for someone to look up to.
Life is unpredictable. I know I need to stay awake to the possibilities, assume the positive, and keep centered. I know that this curveball could hit the homerun. It doesn’t have to be the one that will knock me down, strike me out, and lose the game.
I know it might not be the one that drops so far down that I cannot reach it. Telling myself to let go of my expectations, to get out of my head and let my body do what it was born to, I swing…