One curveball I was “thrown” happened during a big race weekend recently in which one of the races was a 1 mile open water swim. It was an incredible race and I had been looking forward to it for months. The opportunity to board a boat with about 100 swimmers, ride out in a lake for a mile, jump off the boat into the water to join an additional 150 swimmers for a race back to shore. The conditions were perfect. Fabulous experience. So long story short, I’m standing at the edge of the boat ready to jump in when I look down to put on my goggles and realize that a key goggle part is missing and they are unuseable. Uuuugggghhh! I had two choices of how to deal with that curveball – ride the boat back to shore, or race for a mile with no goggles. Easy choice, but not any easy task.
Essentially I swam the entire way with my right eye closed (to protect it from the beautiful sunrise shining right into my unshielded eyes) and most of the way with my left eye closed (believe it or not, 68 degree lake water on unprotected eyes starts to feel a little “frosty” after about 15 minutes. The hardest part was navigating the start with so many people in the water and really not being able to see due to all of the splashing. I finished with a decent time. I finished with a sense of accomplishment – that I didn’t step out of the batter’s box when the curveball came in, I dug deep and finished the race with a great pace all things considered.
The other recent curveball I experienced was really not thrown my way, but thrown straight at my dad….an out of the blue, stunning, OMG diagnosis of Stage 4 cancer. The kind of curveball that leaves a knot in your stomach and so many thoughts in your head. The kind of curveball, that due to its strength could take a strong batter down.
I’ve learned that curveballs don’t define us, how we choose to handle the curveball does. My parents have always taught me how to face problems head on; to hang tough. Even in the face of the worst curveball ever, my dad has shown a grace and fortitude at which I marvel. I can only hope that my kids learn the same from me. It’s important to be able to handle whatever is thrown one’s way.
Curveballs…..we hold our ground, assess the pitch quickly and do our best to hit the ball – sometimes it will be a home run, sometimes it will be a 3rd strike resulting in the game losing out….most often, though, it will be a decent hit that we can be proud of.