A Little Perspective
It had been a rough weekend so far. We were 1-2, but as they say in Bull Durham it’s a miracle we’d won the one. Now it was Sunday morning and we were a 4 seed playing a 1 seed out of a tough pool. Not exactly the formula for a great day.
I’d gone ahead to check if the field was open so we could warm up there. It wasn’t, so I started heading back to where our team was waiting. That’s when I saw her. A young girl, perhaps about 12 or so, shriveled up and being pushed in a wheelchair. It looked like her physical challenges were multiple, and that she may have some mental challenges as well.
As we approached each other I saw it — she had a softball glove in her lap. Then as we got closer she put the glove on, as though she was getting ready to play. She was smiling as I walked past her, and I couldn’t help but smile back.
It was then that the first thought struck me. My players were sitting around getting ready for warm-ups. It was 8:45 AM, and some were probably thinking how they’d rather be back in bed. It was just another day at yet another tournament, and maybe a few were thinking about somewhere else they’d rather be this July day. After all, a season can be wearing after a while.
But I thought about that little girl, and what she wouldn’t give to spend just one day doing what these girls were taking for granted. Just one day to be able to run out onto a freshly dragged and lined field, feel the heat coming up off the infield dirt, and get her uniform dirty diving after a pop fly that’s falling short Just one day to step up to the plate and face a pitcher bringing some serious heat. But I knew it was never to be.
I thought about telling this story to my players but decided against it. It just didn’t seem like the time to tell it. I feared instead of inspiring the girls it might bring them down. You never know how people will react. We went on to lose that Sunday morning game, getting blown out after a good start. We went home early, and I will admit I was rather bummed about our inability to play to the level we can this weekend.
Then in the evening the second thought hit me. What would that little girl have given to be be the coach of a team that got run ruled on that Sunday morning? To be making up lineups, calling defenses, giving signals from the third base coach’s box on a bright and sunny July morning? I realized then that my problems were small, and instead of feeling sorry for myself that I should be thankful for the opportunity to do what I do.
I don’t know who that girl is, or what team she was there to watch. But I feel lucky that I had the chance to see her. She helped me gain a little perspective on an otherwise disappointing weekend. If she can smile and be happy to be a part of this great game, I should remember to do the same.