In summer softball league, I was one of the older girls. In fact, it was the last year I was able to play at that level. My skills were decent enough to earn me an infield position, with my choice of playing first or third, since I was only one of two girls that could make the throw from one of those bases to the other.
Honestly, none of the teams were exceptionally good. Most of the girls still struggled with being able to anticipate the plays and making accurate throws. My mental graduation from that league was the day I used that information to my advantage.
When you’re “on deck” to bat, a series of thoughts & ambitious wishes go through your head.
“Don’t strike out”
“Eye on the ball”
“Swing as she releases”
“What if this is the play of the game…”
“I hope I do better than last time”
“I just want to be good”
Stepping up to bat, no matter how much you tried to relax and prepare, nerves always hit as soon as the ump called “batter!”
The standard strategy was to kill the ball. All the greats always hit it out if the park. If you hit the ball really far out, it will take the other team longer to retrieve it, you’ll get a home run and everyone else will run in. You try to think ambitiously, but you usually end up bargaining down with fate for a spot on 1st.
This day was different. This time, before I walked up to bat, I heard a voice in my head that said “keep running.”
Interesting thought – as long as I could hit the ball, anywhere, if I just kept running chances are that the girls would get unnerved, overthrow or under throw, and I could make it home. It was a huge chance to take, or was it? What would it hurt if I just tried it this once?
So I stepped up to bat with a lot less weight of expectation on my shoulders. I didn’t have to hit it out of the park. “Just wait for a good pitch and make contact,” I told myself. And then it happened. Contact was made, ball was hit and I was off proving out my epiphany.
Everything played out exactly as I had envisioned it. I ran as fast as i could around1st, 2nd and 3rd. The girls on the opposing team couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t afraid and why I wasn’t playing behind the ball. I wasn’t. I was going to meet it head on. I challenged all of them at that moment. I took the entire team on. “If you want to get me out, you’re going to have to earn it!” They fumbled around, and I kept running. That was the day I got my first Home Run.
My life lesson from that day; Stop planning the next incremental move, look at the big picture, have faith in yourself, and keep running.