Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Off the Bench…Back in the Lineup Again!

I am a huge baseball fan! And…even though they regularly break my heart, I remain true (29 years and counting) to the orange and black jerseys worn by the San Francisco Giants. My brother, an equally devoted Oakland A’s fan, and a few other friends have offered to pay for therapy! Hopefully, this bit of insight into my psyche sets a context for this post.

I’ve missed writing. I’ve been on the bench for 6 months after taking an “I found a lump” curve ball to my left breast on January 21st. Four little words that have significantly changed my strategy to playing this game called life. Turns out, I was lucky to get a “brush back” which allowed me to assess my life and make some changes, so that I have the stamina to stay in the game.  Here are just a few of the life lessons I’ve learned from baseball and my time on the bench:
  • In January, when it’s still gray and icky, my heart leaps hopefully when I can start counting the days to spring training, along with all of the sports pundits. Hope springs eternal in January – it’s a new season and this could be the year we go all the way!  Every 365 days, I get to be hopeful - to start over to reach my personal dreams.
  • There’s a lot of strategy to baseball. Pitching rotations and match-ups; hitting lineups; officiating; home or away; number of days on the road, and so much more. Same as life. Lots of things to consider when making changes, but it helps to know my team, how rested I am, am I on my home turf or on the road, what/who can I always count on?
  • It’s a team game that takes 9 players, plus a cast of back-ups. And…any one player can be the hero or the (scape)goat for any given game. I’m only as good as the people I surround myself with.
  • One game does not a season make. One has to shrug off a bad break or performance and mentally get into the next game fast. There’s never a lot of time for boo hoo-ing or second guesses. Equally important, a good performance today, does not guarantee a good performance tomorrow!
  • Each player is a specialist, but there are times when opportunity knocks and one needs to abandon specialty to get the job done.
  • 168 games makes for a long season, so players must have endurance and be resilient to make it through a full season. Health, training/preparation, attitude, support and flexibility, all play into one’s ability to make it through a long season.
  • The game is on the field! Fans and coaching makes a difference, but in the end, the coach and fans are not on the field, the players are. If it is to be….it’s up to me!
  • For a variety of reasons, players can spend a lot of time on the bench and not on the field. No one wants to be on the bench any longer than they have to! Time off is good. Too much time off is not good – at least for me!
  • From a purely biased perspective, San Francisco has the cutest little ballpark in the league, and where else but a ballpark, can you enjoy beer, friends, and the smart crack of a line drive? It’s good to remember to stop and smell the roasted peanuts!
Six months has brought many changes and insights which are great topics for a blog about meaningful giving. For now, I am ready to play ball, so I’ll see you on the field - or in this case - on this blog!!!  For all the baseball fans, what are your favorite ballpark memories? What life lessons has baseball taught you? Please comment and share your stories!!

If you are interested, my CaringBridge online journal chronicles much of my personal journey with my breast cancer diagnosis.

Photo by Backpacker.

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