The Kansas City Royals and the San Francisco Giants are playing the world series, 2014. It is off to a great start. Each team has flexed their muscles, shown their strengths and shown some weakness. The count is one to one and the games go to San Francisco and pick up on Friday night. I love it. I can remember the first time I really got it, I mean hook line and sinker, understood the draw of baseball.
You can try to follow that link or you can google "George Brett slides into dugout World Series 1985". There are probably multiple views, although cell phones in the hands of every fan had not begun yet.
So why did this impact me? I think because I was about 21 years old. I had a young daughter and one on the way, I was dealing with an alcoholic husband and I was scared to death. I know, it is still a stretch to connection but the thing is, I was starting to have a personal realization, the blinders were lifting. I was starting to realize, the pressure was on me. My children were counting on me even though they were too young to know it, I was all they had. I had to be at the top of my game. Life landed me in a stressful, challenging situation and I had to put on my big girl pants and be ready for the most important series of change and hurdles I had ever faced. Every tiny bit of wisdom or experience I had learned in my short life, I would need to apply.
Then George Brett showed me a couple of things. He kept his eye on the ball. Every step he took brought him closer to the pit but he never flinched, and then he dove, he was all in and he didn't care about the sacrifice of his body, his pride, his feelings. I related. I gave my marriage everything I had but in the end, the illness won. Alcoholism is a vicious, debilitating disease that robs people of their lives and their loved ones don't come away unharmed. But I tried, God knows, I tried and I cried and begged God to make it work but in the end, I slid into my own "dugout" and came away with an empty glove, but not without sacrifice and not without pain and the only victory lap for me was in my quiet moments when I knew, I did everything I could to make it work.
So, I didn't catch my fly ball either but I gave it everything I had. Now fast forward. I am older, wiser but I am also, older and wiser. I find that after years of various challenges and disappointments its harder now to dive for the dugout. Its easier to assume I can't do it than it is to assume I can. There is definitely a fine art to aging gracefully. It is somewhere between confidence, wisdom and tenacity that you find the strength to stand up to the assumptions (Yours and other folks), the courage to assert yourself even when you don't feel like it and the acceptance of the things that really don't matter.
In trying to be healthy and gain back my mental, emotional and physical strength that I lost when I went through the "slump" a few years ago I have to be a fighter and keep my eyes on the ball. I have to be willing to sacrifice, even slide into the dugout if necessary and forgetting pride, feelings and pain, I just have to go for it!
I am in my own World Series. I have been through the playoffs, the time is now. I have to be focused, fueled and willing. It is the stuff of excellence. I am a team of one and yet a team of many, trying to reach the same or similar goals. I won't get there by standing near the infield watching that fly ball sail out of reach...I gotta keep fighting and be the kind of hero I want to watch when I tune in to the "Big Game." If I thought life was tough back then well its a heck of a lot tougher now. But I have a shot and I'm gonna keep that focus and I'm gonna keep diving for that dugout no matter what the cost.
That's all - Thanks Y'all!