On Curve Balls and (Adult) Temper Tantrums

First of all, I don’t play baseball. Or softball. But my parents tell me I wasn’t half bad at T-ball back in the day so even if I might not be the strongest authority on this, I’m going to go for it anyway.

Curve balls.

This past year, and, let’s be honest, this past day, has been full of things that I wouldn’t normally have a name for. Big, scary things that I don’t know how to react to. Surprises that knock me off my feet. Prolonged tragedy that just keeps on sucking energy from under me, day after day, month after month. Or even, those tiny, teensy, little flies that hit me in the face twice in a row and make me cry. Let’s just say…this year has forced a lot of growth. Not that it hasn’t been amazing, too. I guess that’s called growing up.

Anyway, I suppose it’s a good sign that today, when those little darts flew my way again, and I was on the brink of being so frustrated and overwhelmed and upset about it…I stopped. And I thought about baseball instead.

Pretty much anything in life that we cannot anticipate and didn’t plan for (usually the hard stuff), we can call a curve ball. Now, how SHOULD we react to curve balls?

How to hit a curve ball:

1. Recognize it as a curve ball ASAP.
2. Adjust.
3. Swing.

How not to hit a curve ball:

• Throw a temper tantrum, insisting that IT’S NOT FAIR!!!! NO ONE ELSE GOT A CURVE BALL!
• Throw a pitty party and flop down onto the ground. Squirm and kick your feet and wait for someone to come calm you down.
• Stop. Drop the bat. Decide that you obviously need more time to think about this.
• Do nothing. It’s not your problem that the guy can’t throw a straight pitch.
• Cross your arms. Refuse to participate. You didn’t sign up for this.
• Emotionally coerce your teammate into running onto the field and stopping the game.
• Insist that everyone in the stands needs to just BE QUIET ALREADY so you can focus.
• Just stand there. Someone else will hit it for you.
• CHARGE STRAIGHT AT THE PITCHER AND STRANGLE HIM FOR THROWING THE CURVE BALL.
• Decide you are a worthless human being, obviously. THE WORLD HATES YOU!!! You are useless!!
• Sit down and eat a sandwich. Because curve balls make you hungry. And food is comforting.
• Walk away and drive to the store. Buy a better bat, better uniform, better gloves. So you can really knock it out of the park next time.
• Decide that your life is pretty much over, anyways. Why bother trying.
• Pull out your phone and ask Facebook for a detailed account of all curve balls they’ve encountered and what exactly they did.
• Do nothing. The government should hit the ball for you. It’s not your job to deal with stuff like this.
• Think “No worries!” My mother, father, or children will hit it for me!
• Read five thousands books on how to hit a curve ball.
• Decide to tell everyone else how to hit curve balls.
• Stomp your foot and declare that no one appreciates you anyway! WHY DOES NO ONE EVER SAY THANK YOU?
• Freak out because the guy IS TOTALLY PICKING ON YOU! He obviously is out to get people like you. THE WORLD IS SO UNFAIR!
• Try to give someone in the stands $100 to hit it for you.
• Run away really fast. Before it gets to you. So no one remembers it was you on the plate.
• This is ridiculous. You are a good person!!! WHY ARE YOU BEING PUNISHED?!
• Decide to conduct a two year intensive study on the geometry of curve balls.
• Be flabbergasted and wildly offended. Obviously, he will throw it again. You are entitled to AT LEAST a decent pitch.
• What curve ball? Remain in total denial.

BANG.

You didn’t even swing. And worse!!! You just got hit with the ball!

All of these reactions would be ridiculous in baseball, and yet, when life give us nasty surprises, or trials, or an extra tough time, it’s ok to react like that? But, bad news folks, choosing to do anything other than 1. Recognize the curve ball 2. Adjust and 3. Swing … will pretty much ensure that you miss the ball completely, or worse, the ball hits you square between the shoulders as you are failing around, being upset and everything. And being hit with a baseball hurts much worse than missing the pitch. Much worse.

Is it fair? No, not necessarily.

But does the world hate you? Are you doomed for an entire life of misery? Are you justified in all of your complaining?!?! Who knows.

But that ball is coming straight at you anyway.

So I’ve taken a concerted effort over the last week to be more intentional. And when those tiny curve balls come flying, I am pausing, recognizing, adjusting, and giving it a good, hard swing.

Because why let the curveballs dictate our mood, our self-worth, or our dreams? The only thing that needs to change is the way we swing at it.

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