- Well, the first Liberally Lean Girl's Softball game is in the books, and I would like to announce that I will be able to say the team led a game at one point in the season. It might have been 1-0 and we ended up losing 2-8, but we were ahead and dominating that game for about five minutes.
- I'm not sure I've ever felt more important than walking up to home plate before the game and exchanging lineup as and meeting the umpires.
- But, and these Random Thoughts are about to seriously change gears, I was taken aback by something I did not expect. It was the moments. Those moments during the game that lasted only a second but stuck with me for hours afterwards. The girl who was beaming and couldn't wait to tell me, "What did you think of my hit?"; the nervous player whose helmet I slapped, told her to have a "good time up there", and watched her smile she she walked to the plate; or even the coaching moment when our cut off man held up both her arms because that is what we taught her.
- But one of my favorite moments came when a first year player, who is a bit tall and a bit awkward, managed to get on base with a walk and then somehow stole second. We then got bold and had her steal third, and she came in with plenty of time to do so standing up. Success! Well, almost. She and I had worked on one thing in practice: Be under control and don't step off the bag once you get there. However, she came into the bag so hard and so fast and so excited that she couldn't help step off the bag no matter how hard she tried. As she desperately tried to get her foot back on third base in a frenzied two seconds, she was tagged out as I stood three feet away yelling "Foot on the bag! Foot on the bag!". Oh, no! But she didn't kick the ground or yell or storm to the dugout. No. She looked up, slumped her shoulders, but smiled at me. And if I read that smile correctly, it said, "I tried so hard to do what I supposed to do, and you and I have gone over this, but I want to tell you, coach, I'm really, really excited to have almost gotten to third in my first game!"
- A moment.
- And, that's what I learned. The game was a game of moments. Little, brief moments. A few little moments after hours of practice and planning which, I'll admit, have been taxing and stressful. But after one game, the coaching experience has pretty much been what a buddy of mine twenty years ago with two small kids explained to me about parenting: "Hey, it's a beating," he said. "But it's a good beating." I think he meant, "It's really, really hard, but there will be moments - great moments - that you wouldn't trade for anything."
- And if I sound a little reflective this morning, it is because I am. Last night and again this morning I thought, you know, life is really hard. It really is. There are bills. There is sickness, and pain, and death. There are dreams that are dashed, relationships that fail, and mistakes and horrible choices along the way. But there are those moments -- those wonderful moments -- that happen just ever so often to make it all worth it.
- And that is my surprising random thought of the day -- all caused by a little girls softball team that is already meaning more to me than I mean to them.
at 8:32 AM