I suppose it takes only a glance at the title to know who inspired this week’s blog post. That’s right, my husband. Somehow he makes sports and science interesting to me, even though I’m just about the least sports- or science-minded person I know.
When I was in my dreadful middle-grade years, I was surprisingly tall for my age. Of course I stopped growing while everyone else kept going, so at 5’4″ I’m not what many people call tall these days. But back then, even though I was ahead of many others physically, I was well behind in confidence. It may be a cliche, but I, too, hated Jr. High gym class. On one particular day, I recall my gym teacher pitching a Wiffle ball to me and I just stood there, afraid to swing. Before I could be released from my turn by an agonizing third strike, she raised her hand to draw everyone’s attention—to make me an example of what not to do. I was one of the taller girls, she pointed out, and evidently that meant I’d be able to really hit that ball if only I’d swing.
Needless to say, her coaching didn’t do a whole lot for my performance—either that day, or for the future. If I had an ounce of interest in sports up to that point, I’m pretty sure being made an example of failure effectively slaughtered whatever interest might have existed before.
But in her inelegant a way, she was right. She was sending me very gentle, perfectly pitched balls and all I had to do was swing. I knew a Wiffle ball wouldn’t hurt me, but I was afraid I’d do the swing-around pivot and bat the air, ending up looking like a fool. Little did I realize that she wasn’t looking for grace as much as she was looking for effort. In my middle-grade timidity, I wouldn’t risk my fragile pride with any sort of effort. I wish now that I had.
I can honestly say I’ve learned to swing at some of those pitches—and it only took four more decades! But as you might now guess, the discussion between my husband and I didn’t begin about sports. We were talking about new opportunities, and how hard it is to pursue them—but for different reasons in every season of life (quite the rhyme, there!). But having the confidence to pursue new opportunities is undoubtedly the most important ingredient.
So this is just a thought to start the week—check your confidence level, so the next time a pitch comes your way, you can swing.