One of our softball players went 3 for 3 last Saturday. I know this happens all of the time but until Saturday she had just one hit total. For the entire season. Seven games. I was out of town with our son at a football tournament and missed the game, but later on I threw out a Tweet letting her know I was proud of her. Problem with Twitter is you only get 140 characters to say what you want to say.
Here’s what I said: “So proud of your 3 for 3. I knew you could do it!”
What I meant……..
You don’t realize what you’ve done. Not a clue and that’s actually a good thing. It needs to be a fundamental part of your character, this thing you’ve accomplished over the past few weeks. It is one of the true pleasures of coaching that I was able to watch it happen. Eight weeks ago you looked like someone swinging a polo mallet and riding a pretend horse. Six weeks ago it looked like Tiger Woods coming out of the sand. Four weeks ago, Happy Gillmore’s tee shot.
Last week I noticed something. The swing was level. The timing was slow and you were juuust behind it. I thought, a few more AB’s and she’ll find it. And you did.
But I know the rest of it too. The hours of work in the back yard to fix that swing, Mom and brother feeding you balls and breaking it down. Daddy picking you up after every strikeout, feeding you confidence so you’d have the courage to make that trip to the plate one more time.
Remember this feeling. The weight of the bat. The ball on the sweet spot. Parents and grandparents and teammates fist pumping and hugging after you ran through first base. But remember what got you there, too. You have learned a lesson many adults haven’t figured out:
Most things in life are not going to come to you naturally.
They will require you to work at them, and success happens when you work at something you’re passionate about. Success is not a gift. It is not a birthright. Many adults have raised their children in a sports atmosphere where we don’t keep score, we try to build self esteem instead of character, and then we act surprised when children want everything and don’t understand why they have to work for it. Then they are equally surprised when they look to someone else for validation of an unaccomplished life. How else do you explain boys barely out of their teens building bombs, high schools that need day care, and 26 year olds still on their parent’s insurance?
Softball isn’t natural for you. Whatever success you have in the sport will be because you worked for it. Because you earned it. And guess what? This won’t be the only time in your life where working at something important will pay off. Your job. Your marriage. Being a parent. Not to overdramatize it, but you are now set up to be anything you want to be because now you know what it takes- the decision that something is so important that the sacrifice is worth it.