Swing for the fences
Swing for the fences

Swing for the fences

I think sometimes we need to resort back to acting like little kids on the T-ball field.

Because they sure know the basics of swinging a bat.

If you don’t practice, you don’t play.

I went to my friend Mandy’s son’s T-ball game Sunday afternoon, and it might have been one of the most precious things to watch. Like, ever. It’s definitely entertaining—that’s for sure. There’s a bunch of mass chaos involved and kids not really knowing where they’re going or what to do with the ball when it comes to them, but it’s also a game full of opportunity.

Because no matter what, everyone swings.

And I think that’s what we often forget about in life. We have all of these chances to swing at the opportunities we’re given, and we sometimes simply don’t take them. Sure, as you get older, the game is a little different, and you don’t always have a stand with a ball just sitting on it for you to hit, but you still have the pitches coming your way. As I was watching the game, I started thinking about so many different times in life when I just stood there with a bat in my hands and didn’t even muster up the slightest swing at all.

And most of those non-swings were because of fear.

We chatted a bit after the game, and I mentioned a test I’m studying for and how the material is nothing that comes easily to me. I compare it to trying to understand Sanskrit: You put that language in front of me, and I’m going to stare at it with a look like Joey from Friends after pretty much anything intelligent that’s said—with outright emotionally painful confusion. Part of me has thought about continuing to study for the next few months and then not take the test. I know it sounds silly, but I’m more confident that I will fail it than I am that I will pass it. That’s what I did in high school with AP economics. I took the class all year long and then didn’t even take the AP exam at the end of the year, mainly out of fear of failing it. I wasn’t willing to swing the bat at the risk of striking out.

I played softball when I was younger (and T-ball, but I honestly don’t remember much about it), and I played on a co-ed team with some of my coworkers during one of my first years of teaching. Getting up to bat is a nerve-racking feat. I mean, all eyes are on you, and your teammates are counting on you to do something good for the team. You don’t know what to expect from each pitch, and you have to make a quick decision on whether or not you’re going to swing and go for a hit or let the ball pass you by. If you swing, you could hit a line drive that brings in an RBI and puts you on base, or you could send it soaring over the heads of the outfielders and notch yourself a homer. Or, those same hits could end up getting you thrown out at first base or out because the outfielder actually caught it.

Or, even worse, you could swing and miss completely.

But isn’t it worth the risk, even if you do strike out? Wouldn’t it be better to go down swinging than to never have given it a shot? I think Fall Out Boy would say it is. So I guess I’ll take that test because, well, why not?

After all, as the Babe (and Hilary Duff) once said, “Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.”

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