The Endless Summer...
I wish. August is ending, with September coming right behind. Off to a six-day camp and tour with my soccer team. Looking forward to seeing how my individual work this summer pays off. It's been a summer of working out, fishing and keeping my brain in "school shape." It's definitely important to take a little break when school first ends -- slept past 6 am for the first time in almost a year. I never realized before how awesome sleep could be. It's a rewarding activity in and of itself!
When you are pushing yourself in school and sports, you really need to find a balance. Sports are an option, they are supposed to be something you do for the love of it. You need to make sure you really love what you are doing -- and you need to make sure you are doing it for yourself. It won't work in the long run otherwise, I believe.
I was as serious about baseball as I am about soccer up until about two years ago. One day I was sitting in the dugout during my team's turn at bat during a double header, and realized that as much as I loved the sport, I simply did not want to play it competitively anymore. I didn't know what to do, however. My parents loved baseball. I had been playing it for years and years. I was a key player on a team that won its district and its section and its region in the state championships. I picked up my glove and ran back onto the field when we made our third out.
A month later we were playing the state tournament again. In the championship round, I got up and nailed an outside pitch off the right centerfield wall. I busted it out of the box just as my father always told me, just as I know any good player should, and just as every coach has told every player at every practice since the beginning of baseball time. I cut the base properly at first, toe-tapped second and flew into third. A triple. Everyone screamed. The third base coach was ecstatic. I looked at my parents, sitting just on the other side of the fence a few feet away. "I don't want to do this anymore," I mouthed.
The car ride home was weird. I could see my parents thinking. I was thinking too. Later that night my father told me he thought I just needed "a little break from baseball" and that I was just "burnt out on it" and "would realize I still wanted to play it in a month or so." He was disappointed. My mother was too. When I stuck to my guns and didn't change my mind a month later, my coaches seemed disappointed too. Everyone seemed disappointed. But everyone seemed to understand too.
I had sleepless nights worrying about telling my parents and coaches I was quitting baseball. Honestly, whatever fear I had about telling people I was quitting baseball seemed silly within days of letting people know what I wanted. It wasn't relief as much as much as happiness from realizing that decisions in my life were mine to make. And a sense of security from realizing that people cared about me enough to understand, accept and support my decisions.
I enjoyed my very next soccer practice more than ever. My father and I continue to watch the Mets (with the same misplaced hope and ultimate anguish we always had). We still have a baseball catch once in a while and when the mood strikes, I ask him to throw me a few balls to hit. I love swinging the bat.
Another sunset is here. Only so many in any given summer. Gotta do what you love.
Sunset on the home lake in Ellenville NY.