Last Saturday I decided to go out and play softball for the first time, without a foot of snow on the ground, in nearly a year. I had the great idea to play with a friend, and a few guys he’s played with for years. These guys are so good its boarderline illegal. It was a complete confidence destroyer watching these guys murder the ball for three hours while I hit squibbers to the second basemen. I was pretty embarrassed. I never really wanted to play softball again. I knew I wasn’t going to play well, and I wasn’t going to compare to those guys but I didn’t know it would be that bad.
That was the cliff notes version of my first “practice” in a very long time. What I didn’t tell you was in the middle of my third at-bat for the day I was struggling real bad, and the Babe Ruth of softball gave me a tip. He showed me how to fix my grip on the bat and it felt really stupid. I finished my at-bat hitting a few more squibbers and eventually we called it a day. I didn’t think anything of it at the time, but that 10 second tip changed everything.
A few days later I returned to the softball field, wanting to get my mind off things and hit a few softballs in the process. I continued with the new grip and I was infinitely better. Both of my hands were still on the bat, and I was hitting frozen ropes on the right side of the infield. One particular swing I had destroyed a ball, and on a day less windy, there is a good chance it was a home run. My confidence was at an all-time high. I wanted to get right back out there the next day, and that’s exactly what I did. A few more hours of frozen ropes and bombs that flirted with the fence and I couldn’t get enough.
Since that fateful day I’ve been on the field more times this week than the last two years combined at this time. Part of it is because I’m playing very well, and the other part is (Oh no! Here comes the serious part of this post) that when I’m out there on the field, nothing else matters. All my troubles are gone and all I think about is how I’m going to get better. My head is on straight, and I’m not upset or depressed. There has been a lot of Debbie Downer type stuff floating through my head lately, and the only things I have to get me through it are softball, alcohol, and my best friend. One day I’ll sort all that stuff out, but in the meantime, even if it is just for an hour or two, softball gets me through part of the day and I can’t wait to get back out on that field again.
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