I remember the heat, the red dirt of the field, and my coach feeding the yellow softball into the pitching machine.
And with an explosion of power and a WHACK—the ball soared over the center field fence.
Instant home run. Oh, how I wished that had happened during an actual game.
With raised brows—and grabbing a ball from the bucket—my coach simply said, “Let’s try it like that again.”
I never did. Sure I had great hits afterward, but I never hit the ball over the fence again.
Maybe I lacked the muscle, talent, or discipline. I don’t know.
A decade and a half later I’ve begun to see that hit as hundreds of variables colliding in just the right way—like an amateur golfer who hits his first hole-in-one.
The conditions lined up—the right pitch, speed, and wind. The perfect swing of the right bat meeting the ball at just the right spot, that “sweet spot.”
Life is like this, isn’t it? Sometimes circumstances line up, and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity opens to us—a great job or running into the person you end up marrying.
On that day 15 years ago the only thing I really did right was to keep my eyes trained on the ball.
Keep your eye on the ball. It’s simple advice that coaches hand out in T-Ball dugouts.
Though I haven’t touched a bat in years, I need this maxim now more than ever. Work, marriage, and motherhood grapple for my attention, and it’s easy to operate in emergency mode, where I lose myself to the day’s distractions.
Sometimes I convince myself that I control outcomes, but I know the only thing I really control is my level of focus.Maybe your own dreams are sidelined, and it’s time to prioritize them again. Click To Tweet
We can work on our swing, sure, and improve our technique. But maintaining focus seems to trip up even the most practiced athlete.
Staying focused requires a mental fortitude, what my longtime coach and mother always called, “mental toughness.”
We must practice the art of training our eyes on the ball. But even still, every batter reaches a point where the ball falls out of their peripheral vision. Around mid-swing or so, batters must rely on muscle memory and . . . chance.
After every swing, there are only two outcomes—a hit or a strike. All we can do is try to connect with as many pitches that come our way, and know that God is in control of the outcomes.
And even if we strike out, we need to go down swinging. Because in the game of life, there’s always another pitch coming.