... I'm ready to play!! Sorry, I LOVE that song.. maybe because I played centerfield when I was younger. Yeah, how cruddy is it that kids are made to feel that if you play outfield you suck? I remember when I first started playing softball... the first year I got stuck out in right field... and I cried, because the other kids in the outfield were bad, and no one wanted to take time to teach us what were doing that made us keep sucking at softball... Seriously, I wanted to quit... I mean it's bad enough to think you're going to be super awesome at something, then try and fail, but then to have a coach who would poke just as much fun of you as the other girls on your team... Uh... HELLO! We are supposed to be a team... I think I just figured out why we lost so much.... Anyhow... Daddy told me once 'suck it up, there is no crying in softball! of course they are going to make fun of you, you aren't good! but I mean, you just started! don't compare yourself to those other girls who have been playing since before they could walk! that's not fair to you!' The thing about Daddy... he may not start out with tact, but he normally wallers around enough to make a point in kind of a slap your face but nicely kinda way.... Anyhow, Daddy and I worked and worked and worked, and when I wanted to quit, he made me work more. He would always say something like 'You made a commitment to this team and you are not going to quit. I'm not going to let you. But now you have a choice.. you can either just decide you suck and never improve, and that's fine with me. Or you can come at me with all you've got and get better. That's entirely up to you, but I am not raising a quitter...' I enjoyed it really; honestly it's probably one of my most favorite memories of being with my Dad. The next year, Daddy took over coachin and boy did he get the most misfit team ever! Like, Bad News Bears bad (seriously another favorite of mine...but the original like 70s version, not the crappy Billy Bob Thornton remake version)
LOVE. this. movie.
Basically, we were the modpodge of kids that no one else wanted... Daddy made it a point to tell every one of us no one there was better than anyone else, that every position was just as important as the next one whether you were a pitcher or a left fielder. Now, he also pointed out that some would be better at other positions than others, and we were there to practice and figure out where we fit the best... Boy, stigmas run deep, especially in the mind of 12 year old girls! No one, I mean NO ONE wanted to be 'stuck' in the outfield, myself included.. Somehow I had convinced myself I'd get to be infield since I was now a 'coach's kid'... Yeah right! My dad decided to make an example out of me (not in a bad way, hang with me) and stuck me at centerfield.... OOOH I was MAD! Like, crying to Momma (because surely Momma will see this injustice) mad....
Daddy, of course, had a good reason for makin an example out of me... The other kids figured he would be just like all the other coaches we'd had, and that my sister and I would get to play whatever infield postion we wanted just because we were the coach's kids. He was just as hard on me as he was everybody else... If I screwed up, I ran laps just like everybody else (which I really really liked, oddly enough)...
After Daddy assigned me to centerfield, I fussed and threw a fit that would do any 2 year old proud. And then I asked him 'Are ya tryin to say I suck at softball?! I THOUGHT this year would be different! I thought YOU would be different! (ouch) If all I'm ever gonna get to play is outfield, then I just quit!' (Wow... somethings never change, I'm sorry God....) After I had calmed down, Daddy and I watched Bad News Bears (LOL, true story) and had a chat.... He asked me if I really thought he put me at center because he thought I sucked at softball.. Uh, yeah Dad, I kinda do think that's why (I am 12 after all and everyone wants to be pitcher)... he said 'I put you at center because that is where you are strongest! Because that is where I need you! I need someone out there that knows where the ball is going to go, is fast enough to get there, and knows what to do with that ball once she gets it... You are my fastest player, you may not be my best player, but you are for sure one of my strongest players. You're consistent!'
I seriously wanted to be this girl! LOL!
Whoa! Wait, what?? You think I'm fast? You think I can throw far? You think I'm pretty smart when it comes to how to play softball?? Wait, really?! (see... ALWAYS been a words of affirmation girl!). Pretty much I concluded that Daddy was telling me that centerfield was the most important positon on that team and not just anyone could play center. The more professional baseball games I watched the more I became convinced that center is the most important postition... Seriously.... you watch centerfielders... they are ALL.OVER.THE.PLACE. You don't see too many fly balls hit to center, but you will ALWAYS see a centerfielder backing up the right and left fielders, and 2nd base, and short stop (or well you should if they are any good, any good at all).... But I also noticed something else... While center may very well be the most important position, there is no I in team (blah I know I know...) and we all have to work together to make a better team... I never was good at pitching (well not slow pitch pitching at least), I never was really good at any infield postions, sometimes I wasn't even the best hitter (I think I pretty much always got a hit or walked... but I can't remember ever striking out that season), but I WAS fast, and I WAS good at center, really really good... And if I was honest, I WAS most comfortable at center (and would get MAD if anyone else tried to play center.... which didn't happen often really).
Once I realized that Daddy was right, and that my strengths really were best suited for centerfield it made a difference in the way I played every single game... My dad thought I was the best for that postion, that is where he needed me, and I was not going to let him down. If we lost, I wanted to make sure it wasn't because of something I did or didn't do. And guess what?? Other coaches, other people, other players noticed! Once I got over being mad about being "stuck" in the outfield, once I changed my way of thinking and started taking pride in my postition people noticed... My little change of heart had a big big impact!
I think that's how life is sometimes... Some days I feel like God just stuck me in this postion because He thinks I suck at life and doesn't want to deal with me anymore (no hate mail please, I know He doesn't really think that...). I would love to say I never have any 2 year old fits with God, but yeah that would be a lie... and not just a lil white one either.... But... it seems like lately I am hearing the things that my Daddy in his softball coach hat said to me when I was 12 coming back... 'You know I don't think you suck.. I put you here because this is where you are strongest...I need your strengths, and your weaknesses, right here for now... It won't be forever, but for now, this is where I need you.'
Whoa! Wait, what?? God, you think I'm strong? You think I can do something worthwhile here? YOU NEED ME here? Well, then, who am I to argue... I may not always like it, just like I didn't always like playing centerfield... but I'm going to come at You with all I've got and get better. This is my postition, and I can either take pride in it and be the best that I can be, or I can be upset that it's not the position I wanted and not try my hardest... I guess now the only thing left to say is failure is not an option, and I will not settle for being mediocre... You don't get to be the best, you don't get to get the rewards if you don't put your whole heart into it. If I do this without giving it all I've got (just like when I played centerfield) I'm wasting my time, and everybody else's....