FINAL MISSION Playing fall softball with people who know what they are doing and not making a fool of myself – In Progress.
My 2nd game day hit me all kinds of wrong. I struck out twice, couldn’t find my rhythm, felt completely self-conscious, was intimidated by the strangers of the other team, a little unsure with a new member of our team (why do confident character guys always intimidate me and make me feel STUPID when I’m having an insecure day?), and just couldn’t figure out how to contribute – I’m just the catcher.
It’s amazing to me how as a kid I don’t remember FEELING all of these things when I was playing. I remember body positions, coaches words on posture and position, do’s and don’ts about throwing and running, but I don’t remember having this psychological warfare in my head over the negative self-talk. Was this because I was too young to have these worries or just oblivious to the world of psychology yet to know what it was so be psyched out or anxious?
Either way this game was not pretty for me. I had been relaxing and enjoying the pleasures of Sunriver with a friend so I didn’t hit the batting cages that week. I also have not been using the bat I bought because I am not convinced yet it is the RIGHT one; so I was trying to figure out which one to use according to what the team had and nothing fit right. I had some how convinced myself that I NEEDED to hit harder, I couldn’t find the right stance in the batter’s box, and there was something about the other team that just well put me into a really REALLY self-conscious state. I struck out twice, then found myself with a hit that got me out (so technically not a hit). I just couldn’t SEE the ball and for some reason I just couldn’t connect with the bat. Talk about discouraging, for some reason I just couldn’t MAKE IT WORK… What a strange feeling.
Some how I came to the realization that it has been years and years since I have done something or tried something I honestly… genuinely suck at. I couldn’t get my mind focused and turn off the distractions enough to make the body line up. My body is still uncoordinated and out of practice in this kind of physical activity. I had been really good at making the mind tune out distractions in the past, but with each inning and each at bat the previous anxiety and inadequacy just seemed to magnify in my head, making my concentration worse and my applied efforts disastrous.
Fortunately, one of the gals I was playing with stepped up and said SWING SLOWER… and step to the back of the box. Simple instructions, something tangible I could get my mind around and what do you know… A single my final at bat occurred. It didn’t feel like a good hit, but some how it connected. My whole team seemed to cheer like it was a home run and I ran to first. Whew… at least I contributed a SMIDGE.
So all this stress and anxiety makes me wonder again WHY AM I DOING THIS??? Why did I sign up, pay the money, and began practicing like a real athlete? Not sure. But I wanted to prove to myself I could still do it. I wanted to believe I still had the ability to play. Now that that has clearly become a non-reality, I’m wondering is this really fun? Am I finding the same amount of satisfaction I was looking for? Has it been worth it so to speak?
The truth is Yes!!! I have been stretching myself mentally, physically, and socially beyond my current comfort zone for the first time in quite a few years. Even though I have not been the shining start I wanted it to be and even though my feelings do not see it as a success, there are a few things I need to remember: There have been no injuries, I didn’t make a fool of myself, I didn’t blow any plays at the plate, and I SHOWED UP… so according to that measure it was a success. And in this life where I have made it a mission to keep moving forward… this kind of success is a good thing.