I just wanted to win. It was my chance to show the world that I had something to offer: I was capable and worth the effort. But that’s not what happened. Here I am in third grade and on a softball team; Topaz. I was suited up for the game with my golden yellow baseball cap in place. Who cares if we were in the bottom of the league. Who cares that just a few weeks prior I hadn’t a clue how to hold a bat or which direction is first base. Today would be different because my sister was coming to my game. I wanted to impress her and her friends. I leaned into the coaches pep talk before the game and held on to every word. “My sister would be so proud” I thought. Well, I didn’t see her in the bleachers, I struck out every time and we lost yet again. I returned home with a sunken heart, a scowling face and downcast spirit. Actually after that great day of disappointment, I reluctantly finished out the season in last place and hung up my cleats for a while. I just didn’t have it in me. I lost my mojo.
Adversity attempted to alter my future for good. If memory serves me well, I returned to my home after that brutal defeat, shut my bedroom door and had a pity party for myself. I emerged with a mindset that I was defeated and would not invest again in something that has broken my heart. I forfeited years of acquiring softball skills, advances in my stats, fond memories with my teammates and sheer joy in the game. OK so little league softball is no big deal in the scheme of life but I believe for me, as well as all of us, these seemingly little milestones pave the way for our future. It’s how we perceive and process our thoughts, feelings and emotions that will lead us to growth or defeat. The great thing is: we ourselves get to choose.
Fast forward: three years. I was asked to play in a pick-up summer league. I chose to invest in the game once again. My coach was great. There were no bleachers, no spectators and my sister had moved into her own apartment. I hadn’t practiced since but I again gave it all I had. To my surprise, I was pretty good. I had a natural inclination to the game. I could slam that ball into left field like the best of them. I had lightning speed under my feet. Each week, victory was mine. The inner joy and satisfaction of knowing my new found potential and gifting gave me new energy, vision, direction and zeal. I could see who I was on the field and what I am capable of and living it out not for the cheer of the crowd or another person’s assessment of me (or perceived assessment as was my warped immature thought process), but for the sheer delight in dreams realized and self significance leading the charge.