Sliding into Home

I have been blessed with 8 nieces and nephews.  More nephews than nieces but I’m partial to both.  My brother and sisters were kind enough to select me to be the Godmother of the oldest and the youngest, both boys.  Let me tell you, the youngest one is a pistol and being around him is a blast.  He’s sharp as a tack and built like a toddler linebacker, an interesting combination.  The oldest one is very observant, serious, smart, impatient and likes to know he’s got a handle on everything, that’s he’s in control of his environment.  He’s a good student although I wish he liked to read more as it opens up your world so much.  Whatever Aunt Pam.  Sometimes I feel as if I’ve turned into the adults from the Peanuts cartoon when I’m talking to the kids, so much “wah, wah, wah”.  But start talking to him about sports and watch his face light up.  He’s a huge sports fan, from baseball to golf to football to basketball.  He’s truly a student of the game and it shows in how much he can tell you about any subject.  He’s also an active participant of several sports.  He plays football in the fall, baseball in the spring and has a really nice natural golf swing he breaks out in the summer, which makes his Nana very happy to see.

Since it is Spring, we are in the midst of baseball season for all the kids even the girls.  Every game counts for each team as it gets closer to the playoffs.  This particular game was a real nail biter as it went down to the closing innings and our team was behind.  My nephew is leading off third as the pitcher throws a wild pitch.  He takes off down the baseline and slides into home plate.  Only his cleat catches on the base and his leg goes one way and he goes the other.  Followed by the pitcher falling on him.  Snap!  You could hear it pretty far away.  Both bones, tibia and fibula, broken.  As he was being carried off the field for the trip to the emergency room, tears streaming down his face, he looks up at his coach and asks “was I safe?”  He was.  As the tears resume, he stops them once again to ask “did we win?”  The game wasn’t over but it was the go ahead run.

Pretty amazing.  Not the part that made me smile, the questions that were topmost in his mind, but the total commitment he had to taking advantage of an error and getting to home plate.  Nothing was going to deter him.  His goal was to get to home plate no matter what.  There’s something to be learned from this terrible experience.  There will be obstacles and sometimes setbacks as you pursue what you want.  But being completely fearless and totally committed will get you the results you want in the end.  Oh, and they did win the game…by one run.

Batting Averages

Statistics are funny things.  I worked in sales for many years and one thing I learned for sure is, you can make numbers tell any story you want.  With enough perspective and your bull-o-meter on full blast, you can spin silk from twine.  Some people are under the mistaken belief that numbers are concrete and absolute.  Not so fast.  As we’ve seen recently from the woe-is-me-please-bail-us-out financial industry who then paid themselves multimillion dollar bonuses (is my opinion coming through here?!), there’s no such thing as a concrete number.  It’s like nailing jello to a wall.

As manipulable as numbers can be, sometimes it’s the only way we can measure progress or success.  Athletes use numbers all the time to evaluate their performance.  Tackles, shots on goal, greens in regulation, field goals, batting averages.  Most of these statistics deal with attempts to score.  More attempts usually mean more success.  But first you have to make the attempt.

I’ve been trying to write daily in this blog but have had mixed results.  I just figured out my percentage of days written versus overall days.  I’m at 29.4% for the year.  Not so good if you ask me.  Especially when I get daily updates from several blogs I subscribe to.  Not good at all.  I could go back and add postings to days gone by to beef up my stats but I’m choosing not to.  That’s not how I want to be held accountable.  I’m only accountable to myself but nonetheless I’m choosing to not go back.  That’s not the way I roll these days.  But I’m not really happy with my percentages.  And figuring out how I’m pacing is a good way to reinforce my goals of daily posting.  I won’t be able to achieve 100% this year, but I’m now more focused on increasing that percentage to a higher number.  Maybe if I get my percentages up high enough, the Cubs could use me!

The Rookie

The other day a rarity happened to me.  I had a day, it was actually the first one in 37 days and only the third one since January 1st, that I didn’t have anything scheduled outside the house.  No rehearsals, no auditions, no travels, no filming, no workshops, no errands to run.  I couldn’t believe it when I saw the break in my schedule.  I am very grateful for all the activity but sometimes just having an entire day uninterrupted is so needed and welcomed.  I allowed myself to sleep in, relishing that I didn’t have to answer to an alarm in the morning.  Even when I awoke, I didn’t jump out of bed, instead I flipped on the TV to see what the weather was offering for the day.  I surfed for a while and ended up on a movie channel showing the film The Rookie.  It’s based on the true story of Jim Morris, a high school baseball coach who, due to injury, failed earlier in his life to make it in baseball.  At age 35, in an effort to inspire his players to win their divisional championships, he said he’d try out again and went to the open tryouts of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.  That day, he was able to throw a dozen 98 mph fastballs which earned him a spot in their double-A farm team.  He soon went up to triple-A and before the season was out, was called up to the bigs.  His first fame was in his home state of Texas with his family and friends watching him as he pitched for a win.  He was able to pitch for 2 years before he old injury returned and he retired to teach once again.

The story really hit home.  I’m always on the lookout for examples of people who made career switches late in life.  Those people that had the courage to take a huge risk when they knew how far they could fall.  Perhaps I’m looking for more like me.  Examples that were successful.  Leaders that came before me and conquered all odds to follow their dreams. I’m not as scared as I once was but that doesn’t a little encouragement goes a long way.

3 Strikes…You out?

I recently read a quote from the legendary Babe Ruth “Never let the fear of striking out get in your way”  I know he meant it in the baseball sense of the phrase-striking out-but I actually read that differently the first time I read it.  I read it as striking out on your own.  Leaving your comfort zone.  Expanding your horizons.  Letting go of that which is familiar and embracing the unfamiliar.  I am well acquainted with this fear.  For quite some time I knew my professional life was heading in a different direction from what I’d been doing since graduating from college.  While I was very good at my job, it wasn’t exciting me anymore and it looked to me like that aspect of media sales was starting to implode.  Yet I stayed put, for well over a year after I started talking the big talk about leaving.  Oh I was a really good talker.  Yup, I was going to leave this place and follow my dream.  I even had a date all picked out but changed my mind at the last minute.  In truth I was scared to death to leave the security of benefits and a steady paycheck.  I think it was the hysterical tears that clued me in.

Fate has a way of intervening when we least expect it.  4 weeks after I was going to quit, my employer of 11 years closed.  Kaput!  No mas.  So there I was faced with what I’d been putting out to the universe all those weeks.  It was put up or shut up time.  Time to walk the talk.  Crap.  Now what?

You know what?  It’s not so bad!  I still have my days of paralyzing, and I mean paralyzing fear.  But I think I’m going to be ok.  I might actually succeed. How’s that for overcoming fear?  As far as the corporate world is concerned, I may be out but I’ll be back for another round of at bats with my new team.  And yeah, I’m pointing to center field.  Step aside Babe.