This summer, I have rediscovered a past love. In fact, this was my very first love, and as much as I'd rather not admit it, this love has morphed into an obsession.
For the record, my wife is perfectly ok with this. This love interest, you see, is baseball. But I'm not talking merely as a spectator or baseball fan; I mean playing baseball – as in hardball.
At the age of 51, I have rediscovered the fun of playing a sport that I had not enjoyed since I was 16. Sure, I’ve played some slow-pitch softball, but that, I assure you, is a completely different animal. We, in the Men’s Senior Baseball League, may have lost a “step or two” (or five), but it’s real baseball nonetheless, with basically all of the rules, and much of the competition and intensity intact.
The only drawback for me, I suppose, is that I didn’t do this sooner – a lot sooner. I certainly spent many years “thinking” about it, but I would always wind up convincing myself that this was nothing more than a foolish and dangerous notion. However, when I finally decided to be honest with myself, the truth hit me that: 1) I was not willing to commit the necessary time and effort to make this happen, and 2) most paralyzing for me, was my fear that I would not be physically able to play at a competitive level.
Needing to be right, initially I was “happy” to confirm my fears: It was too late for me; there was no turning back the clock. After a few games, a couple of injuries, and many miscues later, I told Andrea that I had given it a shot but that I was done. I figured it best to walk away and spare myself any further humiliation, and to spare my coach and teammates any further damage.
Well … a couple of days later following practice, my coach tells me that I’m now the starting shortstop — and will play every inning! I thought maybe the guy had spent a little too much time in the sun, but heck, I wasn't questioning his "wisdom." I changed my plans.
So how does this connect to our Back to School themes of "lessons and new beginnings"? Aside from the obvious of not giving up too soon, there is a much more important message – and it probably applies to most of us: it is rediscovering parts of ourselves that have gone missing for way too long; the things that really make us feel alive and happy. I rediscovered the challenge of competition and the sheer, simple fun of "playing." For you, it can be any interests/activities/relationships that nourish your spirit. So maybe it's time you get back in the game and find what's gone missing in your life. I just don't recommend you wait 35 years.