Updated: Apr 27
This is what years of pitching, bunting and catching fly balls taught me about life and self-care.
5:30 a.m.: Wake up. Get ready for the day.
5:45 a.m.: Grab something quick to eat in the car—a banana, a yogurt cup, a doughnut or a bagel with peanut butter.
6:00 a.m.: Arrive at pitching practice and pitch for an hour.
7:00 a.m.: Change clothes.
7:05 a.m.: Study, get ahead on homework, do extra credit before school starts.
This was all before the homeroom bell rang. And when I would get home, exhausted, after a practice or game, I would study and do more homework. If there was no practice or game, I would sometimes play catch or go to the batting cages. I just kept going.
To get better. To be better. To perform at my peak level.
This is what I did in high school: My primary jobs were to be a student, get excellent grades, play sports and participate in extracurricular activities. This is what I did as a child of two full-time working parents. They were busy, and so was I.
Although I trained to perform and reach beyond my limits, I would sometimes get a glimpse of self-doubt (don’t we all?). Other times, some pretty philosophical thoughts would pop up.
I would be standing on the pitcher’s mound on a warm spring day, and these are some of the questions that would come up:
Do I like being in control?
Do I believe in myself?
Can I do this?
Am I ready for this?
Am I having fun?
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Who I showed up as on the field depended on how well I took care of myself. Was I eating well, drinking enough water and resting enough? Some days I had more energy; some days I felt like taking a nap. Sounds very similar to the life as a working mom.
When I graduated high school, I decided to hang up my cleats for good; I wanted to focus on writing and studying.
The things I learned during my time as an athlete has remained a part of me. I know that all of the thousands of hours of practices and games and preparing were all worth it. My persistence with sports taught me that with discipline, determination and practice, I could become who I am meant to be.
Practice It: What Did Your Favorite Pastime Teach You?
In your journal, write about one activity—playing a sport, participating in a club or class—from childhood that helped you realize something before your time and that you still benefit from today.