It was the bottom of the 6th and final inning. The score was 5-4. The opposing team had just scored. The Angels were in the final two weeks of their 9U season. A losing record, but they were hitting well tonight. A man on second, and the batter up had a full count. I watched my son take a moment on the pitcher’s mound. Draw in a deep breath, and slowly breathe out. He looked and did a head nod to his friend at short stop. My heart was racing. He did the wind up…..
I am not a person to claim I know much about baseball. It wasn’t a sport I grew up playing. Being one of ten children, we did the whole Tball thing on Friday nights. I had a brother who played on a team in grade school. The social highlight of summer was hanging out at the baseball fields with my friends in. We grew up in a town of a couple hundred people miles from everywhere. And actually my oldest sister played on the same boys’ team. I still look back and think about how inspirational that was.
But I am a Coach, and I have learned a lot about the power of the mind watching athletes work individually, as a team, and see hardships come his or her way. I have studied, read, and trained to experience what the mind can do for you. And that yearning for knowledge and journey will continue. I often yell to those struggling in a class “Mind over Matter.” The mind is your most powerful tool. Even stronger than the best skill. I have learned and taught that your preparation and reaction determines your outcome.
Earlier in that game, Benjamin was up to his second bat. He was determined this evening. He had 1 strike, 2 balls, and the 4rth pitch passed the plate. The Umpire yelled strike. Ben looked up, shaking his head trying to insinuate the pitch was a ball. This really frustrated me. In my Mom voice, I yelled Benjamin, “Do not shake your head at the ump. Onward.” He heard me and was still frustrated and shook his head again. Was it a ball, was it a strike? Well, it wasn’t my call, and Ben hadn’t swung the bat. So either way the outcome was now 2 Strikes, and the next pitch was coming whether Ben was ready or not. Well, the next ball came, and he swung, but it was too late. He struck out. He wasn’t ready for it because he was still pouting about the last curve ball he was thrown. And he pouted to the dugout. Well, there is no crying in baseball.
I walked to him in the dugout all hunched over, and said the words he needed to hear in that moment. Short and sweet.
The team worked through. Playing as a team better in this night than I had seen them all season. In the outfield, but also cheering each other on in from dug-out. Hearing their screams for each other is glorious! They knew from the moment they showed up that this team was undefeated. They had already played them once and lost. But they came out swinging. Literally.
Ben started as catcher, pitched the last three innings. Threw 6 strikes. Threw two kids out at first by catching a hit to the pitcher’s mound. He also hit a triple with two men on base. That video may need to be edited, because there was this crazy woman screaming really loud on my phone. I think I was able to make out the words. Huuuuuustle!! Go, goo, goooooooooooo! He hit this triple in the 4th after our little onward and upward chat. Pardon all the stats on Ben, but it’s kind of what Moms do. We keep track of our boys. 😉
So what happened in the bottom of the 6th?!!
Ben looked to the catcher, and threw. The batter didn’t swing. Ben waited for the call….. STRIKE!!! And just like that, I watched a crew of 9 year old boys celebrate like they won the World Series.
What is the point of all this baseball talk on our CrossFit page? What’s the big deal, it was just a game? Well, CrossFit trains you for life. Life is going to throw you curve balls, a few slaps in the head, and several hits to the heart. You may not like them. You actually may think you have been done horribly wrong. But will it change what is going to happen next? Nope. Life is still coming for you. All of the hard knocks, and blows to the chest. I choose NOW to be the time to teach my 9 year old son, and 7 year old daughter that. Our reaction to things that hurt is what makes us come out on the end stronger. Our positive self is what we can rely on. Always be ready for the next play. Mind over Matter.