Because I’d rather not hesitate

Sports have taught me many important lessons in life, including one I needed to be reminded of recently: Don’t hesitate.

And it came courtesy of a pickle.

I went to the Rangers game on Sunday afternoon, and one of our players (I won’t throw him under the bus completely) frustrated me quite a bit early on in the game. He was on second base, and when his teammate crushed one deep into the outfield, he rounded third and started to head home. But then he changed his mind and decided to go back to third. At that point, though, it was too late, and he was in an actual pickle. (If you don’t know what a pickle is, The Sandlot is here to help. This is a cool one, too.

Thanks to sweet Cristy for the great tickets.

When our guy realized that he might not make it back to third without getting tagged, he went toward home again, then back to third. The third baseman had the ball, and the catcher had run too far when he made the throw, so home plate was wide open. The runner would have made it home if he had simply run full speed at that point, but he made a huge mistake.

He hesitated.

The third baseman was then easily able to catch him and tag him out as I let out a loud “NOOOOOO! Why didn’t you go?!?! You had it!” And then, as you’re supposed to do at ballgames, I turned to my friend Piper to make sure that she had seen what had just happened so that we could both agree that his hesitation ruined everything.

How much are we all like that baseball player? Rather than running as hard and as fast as we can at the things that we truly desire, we hesitate. We start to think and overthink, which can often be to our detriment. I mean, I get that we have brains for a reason, and we need to use them much of the time, but sometimes we just don’t—especially if those brains of ours are going to be crowded with fears and doubts and anxieties and lies and insecurities and assumptions and discouragement and all of the other negative factors that talk us out of doing the things we want and need to do.

Eating froyo and wondering where Starbucks guy is

After all, I hesitated with Starbucks cutie, and look where that got me. I went back one day recently, and he wasn’t there. IF YOU ARE OUT THERE READING THIS, CUTE GUY FROM STARBUCKS, LET’S GO EAT SOME FROYO TOGETHER. I’ve also hesitated way too many other times and am not proud of those moments, either. Michael Scott once quoted the great Wayne Gretzky in saying that “you miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take,” which is true, but those shots you don’t take could also cost you more than simply missing out. For our Rangers friend, he was tagged out and didn’t get another chance to score a run. (I won’t blame the entire game on him, because we lost 12-4, but still. Come on, bud.)

And, I don’t know about you, but I’d rather not hesitate and, instead, run like Phoebe with my whole heart.

You might have heard me mention before that I’m not a huge fan of dating apps, but I am on them because it seems like there aren’t many people meeting each other many other ways these days. And some guys at my pool last weekend were living proof. A few of them were sitting on the layout chairs beside the pool, and I could tell that one of them was swiping left and right, and he wasn’t looking up from his phone at all. Then I looked at the pool full of half-naked girls without guys with them and then back to the fellas. It made no sense. There was an actual pool of girls in real life, and they weren’t even trying to talk to them.

I had overheard enough of their conversations to know that none of them seemed to be in a serious relationship (the term “one and done” was used at one point when one of them mentioned a girl he had gone out with recently), and maybe it was simply that they weren’t attracted to the girls in the pool, but it was a little odd to me that they weren’t talking to any of them. I know that I don’t live in the movies or TV shows, but there would definitely be some guys hitting on these girls in Hollywood productions. I have eyes that work—there were plenty of gorgeous girls there that day.

I never hesitate to get bright pink nail polish.

Although dating apps can be very beneficial and have sparked some lifelong relationships, they can also allow people to get so comfortable meeting people via apps that they hesitate in in-person situations. And I’m sure that many people feel like they’re in quite the pickles: Do they approach people they see and are interested in, or do they solely rely on meeting people online, because that’s where everyone seems to meet these days? To those of you who met in high school or college or through friends or on a plane or at Starbucks or in the produce section or at work or at a park or somewhere else that probably belongs in a romcom, bless you. I don’t mean to be whiny, but it’s rough out there.

I hope that you don’t hesitate and, instead, go full stride toward home plate when you get caught in a pickle of your own. Life shouldn’t always involve time for “logic” and thinking—sometimes we simply need to leave all fears and doubts behind and follow our hearts.

After all, we were always meant to be brave.

When you feel like you’re missing out

I think there are too many times we ask “Why?” in situations when we really should be asking “Why not?”

Especially when it comes to matters of the heart.

Last year, on a whim (and because I had experienced a pretty heartbreaking moment the night before), I bought a 10-game pack of season tickets to the Rangers games with my friend Amanda. Despite the financial setback, it actually turned out to be one of my best decisions of 2016. Our friend Val was part of our game-going crew, too, and we had a blast going to each game. Amanda and I even created a paper chain at work to countdown until Opening Day, and we took daily pictures of us ripping off the links and throwing them to the ground.

Bless those of you who endured that time with us and then celebrated when we finally reached the ballpark on the day for which we’d been waiting for so long.

It was worth it, too. Opening Day that year was one I will always remember for so many reasons, and I must say that I was pretty sad this year when it rolled around, and we weren’t there. I also felt like it snuck up on us—when we had the countdown, it felt like it took forever to get there.

It was a rather dramatic countdown.

I guess that’s how life goes sometimes: You wait and wait and wait for something for so long that it feels like it’s never actually going to happen. But then if you’re not really anticipating it very much, it’s as if it gets there as fast as lightning.

Even though there were times the season seemed ridiculously long, the drive seemed way too far, the nights seemed to last forever (especially the games on work nights), and the heat felt more powerful than ever, I miss being in Section 3. I miss convincing the players in the opposing team’s bullpen to throw gum up to me. I miss seeing Mark and Jeannie, who sat behind us each game. I miss persuading the parking attendants to let us park for free. I miss Dylan the pedicab guy always trying to get us to be lazy and not walk. I miss the grouchy guy who plays the saxophone at the street corner.

And part of me just feels like I’m missing out on so much.

Honestly, it’s probably for the best that we didn’t buy the season tickets this year. Val lives in a different part of the state now, Amanda recently bought a house, and I probably owe the hospital more money than a house purchase. But I’m thankful we did it that one season—now we’ll never have to wonder what it would be like to be season ticket holders, and we made some really great memories that year.

I wish I could say that about every area of my life.

I think there have been a lot of times I’ve missed out on some potentially incredible opportunities simply because I haven’t taken chances. I’ve mentioned many times before that I used to be a pretty big pansy when it came to letting guys know how I felt. There was a guy I cared about many years ago, and I never did anything about it. Whenever I was around him, I pretended that I was comfortable with us being friends and nothing more. You know what happened? Nothing. We stayed friends for a while and eventually drifted apart, and he started new and exciting chapters in his life without me.

More so lately, I’ve tried to be better about ignoring the risk factor in this regard. Even though it recently became a prolonged situation that resulted in a broken heart, I’m glad I wasn’t as silent as I used to be. I guess it’s better to know than always wonder what would have happened if you had taken a chance.

Because you don’t want to miss out on something that could have changed your life for the better.

I’ve currently been feeling like I’ve been missing out on a lot of things—whether it’s racing, spending time with people, the sunshine, or even sleep. But then I realized that I’m perfectly capable of changing my circumstances by being bold enough to take some chances.

No, my running hasn’t been that strong lately (thanks, kidney), but I’m on the mend now and can begin working toward racing again. I have to be willing to step on the line, even if it means it won’t be my fastest race, though.

And I have to take chances with people. It’s not always the easiest thing to do to reach out to people or sacrifice time when you could be doing a million other things so that you can spend time with the people you want around you. You make time for the things you want to make time for in life—and that can often mean taking leaps of faith for the sake of others.

Sometimes when I’m at work, I look outside and feel like I’m missing out on so much sunshine (I LOVE being outside when it’s sunny out). But I get off work when it’s still light out, so there’s plenty of time for me to be able to enjoy the daylight. Lately, I’ve been going on walks after work more regularly so that I can be outside, and doing so has been very refreshing. It sometimes takes me out of my comfort zone because I’m a very busy person, so it’s often challenging to set aside time simply to enjoy disconnecting from everything, putting in my headphones, and taking an extended moment to breathe.

Sleep isn’t something I want to miss out on, but I definitely need more of it. I’ve been making more concerted efforts to get more sleep, but it’s a bit difficult at times. However, I know that if I seize the opportunity to take a nap or go to bed earlier—even if it means missing out on time I could have been doing something productive—it will benefit me in the long run.

I truly believe chances are meant to be taken. I think boldness is for everyone. Why wonder what could have been when you could have listened to your heart and not your head? I think we overthink things sometimes when we really should simply go with our instincts.

Because you don’t want to miss out on something that could have changed your life for the better.

Never give up hope for getting gum from a baseball player

Every once in a while, something happens that you weren’t necessarily expecting but perhaps should have been expecting all along.

Like getting gum from a pro baseball player.

Two of my friends and I have 10-pack Rangers season tickets, and our seats are right by the opposing team’s bullpen. So, early on in the season, I set a goal: get gum from a baseball player. They’re always chewing gum and eating sunflower seeds, and a handful of sunflower seeds would be too difficult to toss up to me. Plus, they’re so much work to get out of the shells. Gum is clearly the more logical option.

I have no real explanation as to why this became my goal other than it simply seemed to make sense. There was a slight problem with my plan, though: Most of the players don’t even look up when they hear people from the stands shouting down to them. I’m sure they get a lot of it at all of the ballparks they play at for away games, and they are really good at ignoring people. Like, really good. (I’m looking at you, Storen.) When we played the Blue Jays, though (no, sadly not the game with the Odor punch), I finally got the attention of one of them. But when I asked him if he had any gum, he shook his head, and that was the end of that.

But homeboy had given me a spark of hope—and sometimes that’s all you need.

The next game we had tickets for was a Monday night game against the Angels. Many people aren’t huge fans of Mondays, but it turns out they really aren’t that bad. I’ll admit that we were slightly disappointed when we found out C.J. Wilson wasn’t there that night, because we really wanted to see him—for nostalgic reasons, obviously. However, his absence didn’t stop the fact that we needed gum. I got the attention of one of the pitchers, and he told me he didn’t have any. He also didn’t seem concerned with my disappointment in the situation. That’s OK—rejection happens.

Double Bubble
Thanks, bud!

Later in the game, I looked down and saw a guy who looked like he might be able to hook a sista up. When he looked up, I checked on the gum status with him, and he said he didn’t have any. But then he hustled off somewhere. Less than seven or eight seconds later, he was back and threw three pieces of Double Bubble up to me. Cam Bedrosian, you’re alright, sir.

The Rangers are all about the “Never ever quit” motto, and I think it’s a good one to live by both inside and outside of the ballpark. It makes me think of my mom, who went back to school and earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees after she had already raised three kids. It makes me think of my sister, who is one of the greatest teachers around and never gives up on any student who walks into her classroom. It makes me think of my dad, who never lets me give up and even once yelled at me to do the backstroke for the entire swim of a triathlon because I suck at swimming, and he didn’t want me to regret dropping out of the race. It makes me think of Joe Pesci’s My Cousin Vinny character, who took multiple attempts to pass the bar and had never won a case but managed to win a major murder trial. It makes me think of Elle Woods, for reasons I have previously mentioned. It makes me think of every sports comeback story ever. It makes me think of a lot of different examples I’ve seen of determination and persistence—things that are sometimes difficult to muster up.

I realize getting gum from a baseball player is not that big of a deal compared to a countless amount of other things in life. It’s gum. From a human. And the flavor lasts maybe anywhere from four to nine minutes. But I think it was a good reminder that even in times you feel the most defeated, it doesn’t mean you can’t get back up. Getting knocked down is simply an opportunity to find the strength you may have never known you have. It can be easy to lose hope in so many situations we face in life, but sometimes that hope is what we truly need in more ways than one. Because without hope, you could find yourself missing out on some of the greatest things you could ever experience.

Like chewing Double Bubble as you watch your favorite team with people who support your antics.