Today is my dad's 50th birthday, so I thought I would do a post in honor of him and his love for the game of baseball.
For those of you who know my family, you understand the baseball obsessed house house that I grew up in. For those of you, who don't know my family, let me explain...
Although I grew up in Michigan, I was born in Sarasota, Florida because my dad was down south at the time for baseball spring training. My first outing as a new born was to a baseball game. My grandma has a baseball field in her backyard, which is typically the center of entertainment during family gatherings. Most importantly, of course, heaven forbid you play ball like a girl.
Over the past year or so, during my recovery, I have grown to dislike baseball in a way that feels unacceptable to my dad and the rest of my family. It is difficult for me to pinpoint exactly why that is, but I think it has something to do with the rebellious side of me finally coming to life. Maybe my "I'm not good enough" thoughts started as a result of never living up to my dad's athletic status. Baseball has been pounded into my brain since the moment I was born and now that I am finding myself through recovery, I don't feel like my life should have to revolve around the game anymore.
A part of me knows that I will never be completely free from the game of baseball, it's in my blood for goodness sakes, but maybe that isn't such a bad thing after all. As much as I hate to admit it, my old man has taught me some pretty important life lessons on the baseball/softball field.
Even while I was in treatment, my dad tried to relate my situation to baseball. He needed to put my eating disorder into baseball language in order to gain a better understanding. Bless his heart. So, I am going to do my best to relate some my dad's favorite baseball sayings to my recovery... Wish me luck.
"Keep You Eye on the Ball"
Of course, this is the most used and well known baseball saying there is. On both offense and defense it is crucial to keep you eye on the ball at all times. If you get distracted for one second it can throw your entire game off, which is a lot like recovery. Every single choice I make throughout the day can impact my recovery and if I don't "keep my eye on the ball," it becomes very easy to get off track.
"Wait For It..."
Back in my softball playing days, as a hitter I was always way out in front of the pitch. I inherited my dad's quick hands and usually swung way before the pitch even reached the plate. Whenever I was facing a pitcher that had a killer change up or simply didn't throw as hard, I could always hear my dad in the stands yelling, "Wait for it!" Patience is something I have always struggled with. Just like my need for the ball to reach the plate faster, I have always lacked patience in real life situations. One of the biggest components of recovery is patience. Change takes time. Every time I find myself getting frustrated with the recovery process, I can hear my dad in the back of my mind reminding me to "wait for it."
"Good Game, Good Game."
No matter what the outcome of a game is, the players are still expected to line up, shake hands, and tell their opponents they played a good game. After a loss this ritual can be slightly aggravating, but after a win, however, it can be quite thrilling. Recovery is actually very similar to this "good game, good game" tradition. After everyday of recovery, good or bad, I do my best to pat myself on the back and remind myself of the job well done. Again, it can be aggravating on my bad days, but losing 'games' is the only way to learn.
"See the Ball, Be the Ball"
Honestly, I never really understood this one until recently even though my dad has been saying it for years. Basically what it means is it is important not to get caught up in the speed or status of the pitcher. Even if you are facing a big, scary pitcher it doesn't matter as long as you see the ball and be the ball. Keep it simple. Don't allow yourself to get too worked up. In recovery there are endless situations that seem too big and scary to face, but as long as I keep it simple and take it one day at a time it doesn't feel so bad. Just like the various speeds of a pitch, people go through recovery at different rates. If I believe it is possible to recovery, then it is. Simple. "See Recovery, Be Recovery." Sorry, that's really cheesy, but it's definitely something my dad would say.
"Fail 7 out of 10 Times... You're Still A Hall of Famer"
With a batting average of .300, a hitter is considered highly successful. This means that if a hitter only hits the ball 3 out of 10 times then they are doing a great job and can possibly become part of the Hall of Fame. In my own recovery it often feels like I am also "getting a hit" thirty percent of the time. Sometimes recovery means failing more times than you succeed, but just like in baseball, not only is that okay, it also means you're doing a great job; maybe even hall-of-fame worthy.
Even though baseball might not be my favorite sport anymore, thanks to my dad, it will always be a part of my life. It may have taken me 25 years and a recovery journey to notice all of the life lessons my dad has taught me through baseball over the years, but better late than never.
I never thought I would see the day when I would relate my recovery to baseball, but here we are. Thanks, dad. Happy 50th Birthday!