Sunday, June 28, 2015
If only I could get my head and my body on the same page when I play softball. My numbers may not match reality, so bear with me.
The last time my brain and my body were on the same page was when I was in my twenties. Whatever my brain imagined that my body could do, I could do it. Maybe sometimes it was the other way around.
When I stepped onto the field, whether it was practice or a game, I owned short-stop. That was my territory. Same could be said for the soccer goal. It was nice owning real estate even if it were just in my mind.
The last time I remember being in sync with my body was when I was 21. I was still somewhat healthy, though arthritis was starting to make an appearance. I was starting to fall a couple of paces behind my self. That’s like not being able to catch your own shadow anymore.
As the years start to click by, my body has been dusted by my brain. But sometimes I get that glimmer of hope that I can think like a 21-year-old again. My first game back from one of the best vacations I’ve ever experienced, I had a spring in my steps. I was happy to be playing short stop. I love that position more than anything. I held my own at the position. Even though I wasn’t able to throw anyone out, I was pleased that I fielded everything; this was a rare experience.
The second game was more of the usual. I was off. The first ball hit my feet, so instead of fielding it, I booted it. After the second one zoomed by me and I saw my life flash before my eyes, I pleaded with Emily to swap with me from left to short. She did, but then everything came my way. I must have held up a target or something. What an idiot I was out there, not being able to do anything but throw it to the cutoff.
If I had been thinking like a 21-year-old, I wouldn’t have begged the right-fielder to swamp with me. We were getting blown away in runs so I didn’t really think that breaking the rules would be a big deal. The player I wanted in left field was a player on loan. She told me that she could only play right field and catch, but as I said the score was a lot to not much. I didn’t want anything to do with the ball.
Usually my saving Grace is my batting. Usually. Not that game. Horrible is the only way to describe that experience, but the last time at bat, when there wasn’t much hope, I was able to connect. Why is that?
So, I ask myself how can I think more like a 21-year-older than a 55-year-older? I know that when I’m feeling confident about my abilities, I’m more focused. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.
But that’s not how I think anymore. Not when I step on to the field at the short stop position. Instead of wanting the ball, I hope it’s hit somewhere else. That’s not the way it’s done. Self-doubt is the worst distracter from doing anything well. Once that voice of doubt creeps in, concentration goes out the window.
As I watched the end of the Red Sox game, I thought about the mental fortitude these guys have. Uehara walked around the mound confidently after he got the second out. Just one more out and the game’s over.Just one more out and that’s another save. What was Uehara thinking when he allowed the two out double by Sizemore. And what was he thinking when the ball skipped away from Swihart and Grady moves to third base. Was he chattering about those things or was he still thinking that there’s just one more out to go. Glass is three quarters full.
After 55 years, it shouldn’t amaze me how much mind chatter interferes with doing things. How often do I talk myself out of doing something because I don’t think it’s good enough. Maybe it’s not wanting to think like a 21-year-old again, as those weren’t my best years, but maybe it’s just believing in myself.