Growing up I was a relief pitcher for Missy Quilty. Missy had a windmill pitch that was lightning fast and glorious to watch. She was a tiny little thing and it took a lot out of her to pitch like that. Not to mention that a humid Iowa summer could suck the life out of anyone. I usually could tell by the redness of Missy’s face if the summer heat was winning and I was due to be called up.
I was a terrible pitcher. TERRIBLE. I mean, I was mostly straight but, OMG, it looked like sure agony and awkwardness as I lobbed my whole body towards home plate. Forget about the windmill, no matter how many hours I practiced with that old tire hung to the side of the barn, it was never going to happen for me. The only reason it worked that I relief pitched for Missy is that I was slow as molasses and after 7 innings of Missy’s bullets, it could throw off even the good hitters.
I will never forget the first time I pitched and thee very first pitch. I lobbed my slow ball across the plate and the gal hit a line drive right at me. It landed HARD in the middle of my chest and dropped straight to the ground. Luckily, I was good at fielding and my instincts jumped in. I got the ball to the first baseman just in time. As I looked over at my coach, she looked stunned. I’m guessing that she was amazed I was still alive. I was later told that the sound of that ball hitting my chest was LOUD!
I have no idea if Team Long Grove won that game, but I do know that I felt pride in having the wind knocked out of me and staying in there. I’ve always prided myself on taking the hits, whiffing at the curve balls, and continuing to get back out there.
It’s been an interesting year. Our little dog needed a second surgery in a year and then in less than a month, a third surgery. Taking care of his recovery took us out of the game. I had already taken a break from these weekly newsletters to complete my book. I missed the first deadline and I’m well on my way to missing the second deadline. The salt in the wound is that every time I open social media, another friend has completed their book. I had an old injury show up to slow me down and just when I and the dog were both feeling better … like clockwork, it was Cary’s turn to manage some pain issues.
There has been joy too. Family weddings, vacations, and rest. Moments of leaning into the circumstances and staying in the present moment. Giving myself permission to be out of the game. Treating it all like The Off Season. Also, I found myself creating unnecessary discomfort for myself and anyone in my path too. The pull to get back in the game was strong…
And here we are, the weekly newsletter begins again. I’ve missed the interactions with all of you. I appreciate the support of me, Cary, and Rupert the Beagle this year.
It’s good to be back in the game. I guess we need all three to win. The Missy Quilty level talent, a relief pitcher to slow it down sometimes, and The Off Seasons to recover.
Let’s all learn from each other. How do you balance being in and out of the game?