I have a confession to make: I don't know how to throw a softball.
No one ever showed me how. I'm not using that as an excuse, but we didn't have YouTube back in the 80s, and I was to embarrassed to ask any of my friends when I first emigrated. It's not like I had a dad around to show me how; he probably would have told me it was a waste of time and made fun of me learning.
Flash forward 30 years later; I'm on the field with Julia's 8U team last week, and I'm running drills with them, and struggling to get a short throw in.
So the other day, I come out to the field with Kate while Julia's practice is off in the distance. I told her the story of how I felt last week, and how I really needed her help. She obliged and said:
"Let's just play catch."
And so we did. We played catch for an hour and a half. Grounders, pop-flies, quick-drills, basket catches over our heads,... and had a blast. In fact, all I could think about after I got home from work yesterday was to get some throws in before I had to race to LB and get my race bib for Sunday. Then I really thought about the impact that had on me, and decided to write it down this morning.
Throwing a ball is one of the most instinctive and natural things your body can do. It's sort of like running. Your body knows how to do it; it's all a matter of confidence and practice doing it right so you don't hurt yourself through repetitive motion. But there's more.
The act of playing catch with someone is magical. We talked, told stories, laughed, gave each other a hard time, ran, hugged, and smiled. It's more than a time to bond. It connects you with the other person as you work together. It brings out your creativity as you develop games. You encourage and cheer each other on. It reminds me a lot of surfing with Wil, Greg, and Bil way back when.
I'm not saying that I'll sleep with my mitt under my pillow this week (although I'm not ruling it out). But I'm definitely playing catch every day this week; as much as I can. And if I see any of you at a conference, I'll have two mitts and a ball. You just have to say, "Let's just play catch."