Full Count

I taught my son the basics of playing baseball. Growing up in his earliar years, his father’s work was very demanding. I was extremely thankful for the tomboy still in me when it was time for this child to learn sports. I played softball and I’ll be honest; batting was not my strong suit. My goal was just to get to first base. Once I was there, I could steal my way home. I was excellent at judging timing, running and sliding. These also became my son’s strength in the game. I was proud to always hear the other team yelling, “watch him!”, once he was on base. The feeling still melts my heart as a mother. Yes, that was my son.

The most stressful position to be in when playing this game is simple. It’s pure hell when you’re at bat, it’s the last inning, it’s a tied score, there’s two outs, and it’s a full count. I’ve been here a few times. Your team is cheering, the haters are booing, and the coach is screaming. You can hear it all yet, it’s dead silence. All you can hear is your own voice inside. The surge of success versus failure takes over your entire being. The thing you didn’t know as a child in this predicament is that you will feel this way many times in your adult life. The difference is, as an adult, it’s not just a game. Nobody is giving you water ice saying nice try if you strike out.

My son has been in that situation. The stress of it being at full count. He heard the same things as well. What I adored most is he always looked up at his father and I. We were probably the only two people that went from yelling and screaming to dead silence with him. Most of the time, I would crouch down almost as if to say, “I’m with you”. His father would give the nod and that was it. All we could do was hold our breath.

How many of you have felt or are feeling this kind of pressure? Your leg is shaking, the anxiety is building and it seems the outcome of the entire situation falls on your decision with that one ball. You are at full count. You hear your friends cheering, your haters booing and that one person screaming what to do yet; your world has turned silent. And if you really think about it, who caused what feels like an eternity of hell? Not you! You’ve been on the bench doing your part. Yet, here you are. Of course the “coach” thinks he knows it all because he’s the expert. And let’s get real, the “team” cheering you on, will turn and blame you for the entire game even though they played it as well. The ending here is clearly black and white. You win or you lose. But the situation has much grey. In life, for some odd reason, only you see that grey in the middle of the play. Everyone else sees it as black and white.

My advice to you is to stay still for a moment. Listen to your inner voice. Nobody else is at bat in that moment. It’s just you and that ball coming full force. When it gets close enough, you’ll have to make the decision. Don’t be afraid to make that call in your head. You can’t always win but, don’t be afraid to make that decision. Have faith in yourself and challenge that weekness. Some of my favorite words to warriors, “do it scared”. You can be afraid to fail, but make a choice! Chose to hear and trust yourself in these moments. Because, ten years from now, you’re going to look back and realize one important thing. No matter who was at that game, nobody went as hard for you as YOU!

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