All that really needs to be said is that the quest continues.
Immediately after striking out (swinging, at least) two more times — surely I’m the league leader in one of the few categories I don’t want to be the leader — I had thoughts such as:
I’m just not good enough.
I need to hang up my cleats.
Maybe slow pitch softball is more my speed.
The last thought helped me get a grip on reality.
In the mid-season battle of undefeated teams, after a two-week break in observance of Labor Day and during which I officiated my cousin’s wedding, the Ozark Mountain Ducks were trounced 12-4 by the Moon City Mavericks.
Sunday’s game celebrated kids. For me, the best part was when all children were invited on to the field in between innings to encourage their favorite ballplayer. Having my daughters hug me mid-game, sweaty as I was, was truly an encouragement and a wonderful surprise.
The quest for a batting average is a story about chasing dreams. It is possible it is a story in which that dream never comes true. Or maybe that gap-shot double is still a couple seasons away. My skills are still improving. I’m a better ballplayer at 47 than I ever was in high school, than I was even a couple of seasons ago. (If that’s the case, however, I will not be writing a Quest For a Batting Average, Part 20. This series ends after the championship game.)
It is not easy to be a dreamer in a culture that seems to thrive on discord, dissension, detraction and distraction, with very little discretion. We live in a culture where millions are spent trying to hijack your dreams, to make you settle for less, to convince you that putting your dreams on the back burner is a wise move. We live in a culture full of noes and naysayers and negativity, where dreamers are viewed with great skepticism and suspicion.
Keep dreaming anyway.
The most important thing, whatever dream you are chasing is this: how you treat everyone along the way. Baseball is a team sport first. My most important job is not getting a batting average. My most important job is being a good teammate.
To encourage all dreamers wherever you are on your journey, here are a few quotes to inspire you when the count is 0-2, after you’ve faced setback upon setback, when nothing seems to be going your way.
“It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.”
— Babe Ruth
“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”
― Harriet Tubman
“Life is not a spectator sport. If you’re going to spend your whole life in the grandstand just watching what goes on, in my opinion you’re wasting your life.”
— Jackie Robinson
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”
— Eleanor Roosevelt
And one of my personal favorites, the Man in the Arena speech by Theodore Roosevelt.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
Nine years ago, I first wrote these words.
One day, I’d love the opportunity to play catch, to even take some swings, at the Field of Dreams.
I finally got my swings in the summer of 2021.
Some dreams take more than a season.
Some dreams take a lifetime.
And all the congratulations to Dr. Colin Barker on the amazing game and season he’s having!