Every year, I go to a 200 person men’s camp called “Men in the Hills.” This past weekend was my third time going. Overall, I had a wonderful time. One of the most memorable experiences was at a serious softball game on the last day of camp. I use the word “serious” to describe this game for one reason, my attitude regarding softball. A large group of guys stayed behind to play some softball. I had no plans to play because I have never been that good at softball. A couple buddies, Weston and Mike, asked me if I would like to join them in watching the game from the sidelines. I agreed.
When I got to the ball field, one of the players named Damon, asked me to sub in for him for the remainder of the game. Damon is a giant man with a dark goatee that would make a young boy cry. I was reluctant to replace such a man since he was probably so much better. I thought that maybe I could play the catcher or something easy, so I agreed. A bit of panic settled in as I began to collect my thoughts about the rules of the game. As I proceeded to go behind the batter, Damon told me I was playing first base. I looked back at him, then I looked at first base. The base was surrounded by an empty wilderness. A tumbleweed rolled by. Time slowed down. With my heart pumping, unpleasant softball memories from childhood and a particular experience from my adult life surfaced. I saw the disappointed faces of past team mates, I heard them booing me off the ball field.
Fundamentals in Play
I took a deep breath and said to myself, “These are good people. And plus, this would be a good time for me to put the fundamentals of ‘Life is a Play’ into practice.” So as I ran out to first base, I visualized who I would be in three years from now if from this point on I played serious softball every week. My future self would be confident, bold, not afraid of the ball, ready for action, ready to slide onto base when needed, alert, in the game to win, well practiced, etc. Holding that vision in mind I took my position.
Serious Softball Crush
This experience changed my life. I didn’t just play well, I rocked it. While playing first base, I caught several balls and got several people out. When it came time to bat, I hit the ball every single time. Not one strike. I slid into first base twice. Never before in my life had I slid into base. I felt like my entire team was lifting me up too. Our pitcher, Gary, gave me pointers on my batting technique. Normally I would have taken these as negative criticisms but not anymore. “I am now an all-star.” When the rest of my team was batting, I spent my time on the sidelines practicing because I knew I needed to be ready just like a great baseball player would. Later, Weston told me that the others watching said that I was a great replacement for Damon because both of us are equally skilled at softball. If there was ever a testament of crushing fears and rapid goal achievement this was it, my experience with being serious about softball. I tend to say, “Life is a play,” but this experience shouts from the ball field, “Life is so much more than a play! Life is realizing your potential and playing at an increased level of performance with bold action.