Thursday, September 07, 2006

Never Give Up

Ever since I've played organized sports, I've always given my all. I have permanent scars on my knees from sliding on gravel softball diamonds. I've had a multitude of scrapes, bumps and bruises, and have bled many a time for the love of the game. Even when I draw a walk at the plate, I always run full-tilt to first base. That's my policy. That's the example I set.

But last night, at my softball game, I became unravelled. Stymied by a four-game hitting slump, I became more and more agitated as the score tilted in favor of the other team. I had done nothing at the plate so far but tiny, miserable, squibbling hits. And on my third at-bat, I hit a lazy pop-up.

For the first time in recent memory, I gave up. I took my time. I casually tossed the bat, feeling nothing but disgust for my horrible performance. I trotted towards first, only by habit, knowing that I would once again be the third out.

But then, the second baseman dropped the ball.

I turned on the gas and ran full-tilt to first base. I had a chance to make it. I had a chance to redeem myself. I gave it my all and then some, pulling from every reserve of energy I had. Even with all my effort though, I was thrown out by a half a step.

Had I not hesitated, I would have been safe. Giving up cost my team the out, and the inning.

I'm disgusted with myself. I've seen many other people give up just like that. I've seen people trot lazily around the bases, when they easily could have stretched their singles into doubles and doubles into triples. I've watched fielders just let the ball fall behind them with only a cursory effort to chase it. But that's not me. That's not who I am. And I am ashamed to admit that I was that last night.

It ends here. I've learned my lesson. I'm never giving up again, no matter what.

After the game, over beer and pizza, my good friend AJ gently pointed out that my nasty habit of cocking the bat before my swing had returned. I'd worked so hard to remedy that problem, but for some reason, it was back.

Now I know what the issue is. Now I can fix it. But even if I hit nothing but lame pop-ups next game, I will never give up again.

That's a promise.


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