softball report, part two
what follows is my pep talk... to set the scene, Charles is our coach (in the central florida gay lesbian softball league that i play in on sundays instead of going to church... oh, i am so bad, i should hide my head in petite perky breasts) and after a dozen or so emails in a couple of hours, he laughed and said something about ok, one day of lots of mail is ok and he wanted us to be supportive, but enough emails already (still laughing, but i think he meant it)...
so i wrote another email, cuz after all, i'm part of the team and don't want to be left out of the coaches reprimands (nyuk, nyuk, and all that softball)... and now that you know a couple of our dirty little secrets, this was my email to the team:
Ok Charles, not every day, but since it is still the same day, I will take advantage of the loophole and add another email speech to the pile :)
Charles is right, we do want to have fun at practice and we do lose focus because we stand around too much - but that is softball, a whole lot of standing around - focused on being ready to make a spectacular play at a moments notice - then a whole lot more standing around.
I can't afford too much of that because I am touching the ball every 20-30 seconds and if I don't stay as alert as I can be just 43 feet from the bat, I can literally have my head knocked off. I understand the joking and side conversations, I'm out there to have fun too, so I am not putting anyone down for getting bored and joking around - please have fun...
but to be a winning team, when we are on that field every bit of your concentration must be on "where is the ball?" and "what do I do if the ball is hit to me or anywhere near me in the next moment?" at every moment... in fact, the way to win is to shut out everything else, to shut out the boredom and the jeering people and the doubts and nerves and errors and emotions - on the field...
Seriously, watch the Force or the Crush... when they are focused, they look angry, mean, unemotional and they win. And they are enjoying doing their best. A cheer for a great play A serious "shake it off" for an error. And that's it, back to business, to play 100% focused on the next ball, where is the ball, and what do I do if it comes my way.
There are two ways to have fun on the field. To say screw-it and just enjoy the sun and air and jokes and friends -
to focus on really trying our best every moment to learn more about how to play our positions and how to move our bodies and how to hold our glove and other hand and how to judge a ball's trajectory and how to know where to throw and when to run and all the things our coaches try to teach us - how to to win and then, when we know more and know how to win, enjoy the sun and air and jokes and most of all, friends...
I have played on teams that played softball the first way and we had fun, silly, sometimes drunken, stumbling, "who cares who's winning let's just laugh some more" fun.
I feel we are a team that wants to have fun but not that way.
The hardest part is trusting each other. Committing to doing our best and learning and growing and risking failing is tough emotionally. I hardly know you guys. I am learning about you and I am learning to trust you. There is little or no anger at each other for messing up a play. I feel like there is no laughing at each other unless we are laughing together. That is the way a team becomes a team and that is happening to us.
If we give each other all we've got. If we concentrate at practice learning more about playing our positions. If we focus every moment as it the next crack of the bat means we must catch and throw the ball. If we hold our heads up high knowing we are proud of each other for caring enough to put aside differences and embarrassment and impatiance and frustration and self-pity and shame and any other negative emotion to focus on the teamwork of softball on the field - we will not only grow as a team, but as people and we will teach each other and everyonbe who watches when a true team spirit can accomplish.
Doing our best, REALLY our best, and having fun with friends, with family.
Then, win or lose, we win.
I am afraid of letting you guys down every time I let the ball go towards a batter. I am afraid of letting you down (or of getting hurt) every time a batter swings. That is part of the game (and why I wear the thick shinguards :)
But I go out there because you are counting on me and I believe I have a team behind me, every game more of a team and every game, more friends. You are winners. I am honored that you trust me to pitch for you. I am proud to be a member of the Orlando Flex.
Thank you all :)
PS... Vote! (the serious part, like on the field, ya know?)
And then after you vote, make life fun! :)