Grace: Put Me In, Coach

by Larry Hehn on July 12, 2012

baseball face plantI made a spectacular, graceful catch at my softball game on Tuesday night.

It was one of the top 5 catches of my career. And I’ve played hundreds of games over the last 30+ years.

From the crack of the bat, I could tell that the ball was hit deep to left center field. I ran full tilt from my position in left field to track it down. Speeding back and to my left, I lunged for the ball at the last possible moment.

I felt the sweet, solid smack of ball meeting glove as I fell to the ground, then joyfully popped to my feet with the ball snug in my glove.

It was so good, even the other team’s fans cheered.

I had a great night at the plate, too. In three appearances I had a walk and two hits, three runs batted in and two runs scored.

However…

I also dropped a routine line drive in the first inning that sparked a huge rally for the other team. I bobbled the ball a couple of other times, and botched a few throws to the infield.

We wound up losing by two runs.

My son was at the game. After my catch, he jokingly yelled out, “Is this going to become a blog post?”

Yep Jake, it sure is.

But not exactly in the way I pictured.

*******

Tuesday night’s game was a slice of life.

I had moments of greatness. I had moments of dismal failure. I had moments where I moved my team forward, and moments when I dragged them down.

If I were so inclined, I could dwell on “The Catch” and my at bats, smugly tell myself that I did my part, and blame the rest of the team for our loss.

Nope, that’s pride.

I could dwell on my errors and punish myself with the thoughts that I alone was responsible for the loss.

Nope, that’s guilt.

Or I could take the package deal – savor the good, learn from the bad, bring my best to the field again next week and take my lumps one more time.

Yep, that’s grace.

Put me in, Coach.

*******

Celebrate your victories.

Acknowledge – and learn from – your mistakes.

But don’t let either one define you.

*******

Do you tend to focus on the good, the bad, or the big picture?

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Ricky Anderson July 12, 2012 at 3:19 pm

“I could dwell on my errors and punish myself with the thoughts that I alone was responsible for the loss.”

This is me, to a T.

Thanks for reminding me to put in perspective.
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Larry Hehn July 12, 2012 at 10:35 pm

I’m with you, Ricky. I had to really fight not to beat myself up for those mistakes. It can be hard to snap out of that mindset sometimes. Thanks for sharing!

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Jason Stasyszen July 12, 2012 at 5:44 pm

Great post, Larry. We can so easily focus on ourselves when we live and die as a team. No one does “everything” even if they (or I) think so just no one person is the cause of all problems. Great reminder. Thank you.
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Larry Hehn July 12, 2012 at 10:38 pm

My softball team isn’t the most talented, but we do our best to encourage each other and keep things positive. I’m so thankful for that. Glad you stopped by, Jason!

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Jennifer July 12, 2012 at 5:55 pm

Wow, this is great!! Really uplifting!
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Larry Hehn July 12, 2012 at 10:39 pm

Thank you very much, Jennifer!

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Juan Cruz Jr July 12, 2012 at 6:19 pm

Larry, your son Jake’s comment, now that is funny. I tend to dwell on my mistakes and failures more than my successes. I don’t know if it’s because I consider myself a perfectionist and just need to get it right all the time. Or I am too prideful and can’t accept the fact that I will fail and make mistakes. I have gotten better, but I still have a ways to go. I heard a sports figure once say that they remember the huge loss of championship more often that the great one of one. I think we do tend to be imbalanced. I think we need to get all of it as a package and learn from the failures and successes. There are lessons in both.
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Larry Hehn July 12, 2012 at 10:44 pm

I often feel the same way, Juan. The losses and mistakes sometimes haunt me, and I replay them in my head. Of course, if we had won the game I would have had a much easier time letting them go. Interesting how that is, eh?

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floyd July 13, 2012 at 11:44 am

Great post Larry. Pure wisdom of life, and I love how sports; a game can be the perfect analogy of life and how it is applied. Your son is learning those most important of lessons in life watching his dad play his game of life…

Thanks to Jason for linking this up. Good stuff.
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Larry Hehn July 13, 2012 at 5:18 pm

I like Paul’s letters when he uses the analogies of fighting and racing. It appeals to the sports buff in me. I’m glad you enjoyed this, Floyd. Thanks for letting me know!

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