Adjustments

Baseball is all about making adjustments.

I was at CY Sports taking swings, trying to get my eyes and body used to hitting pitches in the mid-80s. Dad was feeding balls into the two-wheeled pitching machine which didn’t throw anything straight. I took cuts against Bugs Bunny curve balls and ridiculous sliders and pitches I swore broke half a dozen times. Ryan, the owner of CY Sports and Assistant Coach of the team, was watching and noticed my foot. My left foot was tippy-tapping much like my dog’s feet whenever she greets someone new at the front door.

All this time I thought my sister was the only dancer in the family. I had no idea how much I was dancing in the batter’s box waiting for the next pitch.

Ryan took video, something I can’t do on my flip phone, and I watched my tippy-tapping foot, so I spent the rest of the time making an adjustment — Calm my feets. In the process of calming my feets and taking swings, I felt a new blister start to form on my hand, which means I’ll be shopping for batting gloves before my next game. The good-bad news is I’ve got plenty of time.

Grip ‘N’ Rip Game #3 was scheduled for 6 pm and I, again, got the nod to start in left field. I was excited for the opportunity, knowing I was starting because Loren’s hamstrings were not cooperating. The last time I injured my hamstrings my doctor told me to be extremely lazy and not do anything for six months. I’m hoping Loren’s hamstrings heal faster.   

Caleb Cole, standout ballplayer for Drury University, and Andy Galle, who pitched for the Gateway Grizzlies in the Frontier League, were two of the names I recognized on the opposing roster, the Republic Ford Lincoln Rangers. The Rangers also have a left fielder with a last name Bryan, though I don’t think we’re related.

While stationed in left field during my first game, I saw Caleb warming up. He yelled out to me, “I see you out there Mr. Catch 365. Don’t think I’m gonna test your arm.”

I laughed. I remember watching Caleb play as a high school student in Lee’s Summit and for Coach Stratton at Drury. He’s smooth at the plate and in the field. My hope was to not let anything he hit go over my head. Even then, he’d probably turn a routine single into a double.

“Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains,” says semi-fictional baseball pitcher Nuke LaLoosh.

I was watching the first game of the day online, listening to Rance call the action, when the rains came. In short time, both the 3 pm and 6 pm games were cancelled.

Life is all about making adjustments.

Youngest daughter goes to high school. Adjustment.

Oldest daughter goes to college. Adjustment.

Wife breaks foot and can’t drive for six weeks. Adjustment.

Rains cancel the ballgame. Adjustment.

Adjustments are necessary for all of life’s ridiculous curve balls, whether you’re trying to hit them or just make it through the day. I usually grumble my way through adjustments only to see the silver linings years later, missing the beauty and wonder of living in the moment. Chris Hadfield is a Canadian astronaut. He’s been to space multiple times and authored the book An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth: What Going to Space Taught Me About Ingenuity, Determination, and Being Prepared for Anything.

He writes, “Getting to space depends on many variables and circumstances that are entirely beyond an individual astronaut’s control…Ultimately, I don’t determine whether I arrive at the desired professional destination…There’s really just one thing I can control: my attitude during the journey, which is what keeps me feeling steady and stable, and what keeps me headed in the right direction.”

Dealing with adjustments is all about attitude.

With Labor Day coming up, my next game is scheduled for September 8. That gives me two weeks to practice calming my feets and letting a blister heal.

In the meantime, “I’m just happy to be here. Hope I can help the ball club…I just want to give it my best shot, and the good Lord willing, things will work out.”