Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Failing with grace

On June 7th, 2012, I won a little radio singing contest. I called in and sang my heart out to Take Me Out to the Ballgame. The DJ’s, with their discreet taste in crooning, crowned me the singing contest winner. My heart pounded, I called my family in to hear momma sing on the radio a few minutes later for the replay. The kids laughed and squealed. Daddy smiled, kind of rolled his eyes, and asked, "Well, what did you win?"
That’s when a slight panic set in. My prize was four tickets to the local minor league baseball game the next night…AND…the glory of throwing the first pitch out at said minor league game.
All very exciting, except that I had not thrown a baseball since I was nine years old. And, may I say, I was not an exceptional little leaguer. In fact, my coach scared the living daylights out of me, and I volunteered to sit the bench whenever possible.
My sweet hubby agreed to help me practice pitching, and a beautiful blog post about “getting out of your comfort zone and in to your improvement zone” started brewing in my little head. I had grand ideas about laying out the details of how I put myself in a highly uncomfortable position...practiced a new skill…and triumphed as I entered my improvement zone.
This process started well enough. I had indeed got myself into an uncomfortable position. I had agreed to pitch my first baseball in 25 years in front of a live audience of thousands. I did indeed practice this new skill. Dan and I got up early Friday morning and threw the ball back and forth for two and a half hours. When he came home from work, we practiced for another hour. {my shoulder was sore for days!} And by the end of training, I was feeling fairly confident. I could throw with decent accuracy, and with enough heat on the ball to at least make it over the plate – something that prior to my training sessions would have seemed miraculous. This ‘comfort zone to improvement zone’ post was going to be good!
And then, the moment of truth was upon me. I stepped up on the mound {after the seven other “first pitches” of the night were thrown – sure wasn’t expecting that} wound up, and chucked the official Skysox baseball about fifteen feet in front of me – straight into the ground.

My nerves got to me and the ball slipped out before I could finish my real throw. I walked past the cameraman for the local news with my head hung in shame, and cringed when one of my neighbors caught my attention from his seat and yelled out, “Hey, way to go Cumorah!” At the moment, I was hoping this event could go unnoticed, and undocumented, and unspoken about – forever. I believe mortified is the correct word.
It has now been two months since this event transpired, and I am finally ready to talk about it.
The pitch was not a triumph. In fact, if you look solely at the experience as my pitch from the mound at Skysox field, the entire event would look to be a complete failure. But I’d like to let you in on some behind the scenes successes from this story. I am clearly a better singer than I am an athlete. But, my adorable husband is an athlete.

He has large, lovely muscles. He played basketball for his Jr. College, and is my favorite soccer player of all time to watch in person. I love spending time with him, and spending time with him doing something he is great at is even more rewarding. I absolutely love it. That fateful Friday morning, when we got up early and donned our gloves to toss the old baseball around, will remain one of my most memorable mornings with him. It was the kind of morning where dew lingered on the grass, even while the sun kissed our cheeks. We laughed liked little kids. He coached me. And not like my loud little league coach, but lovingly, tenderly. Our children woke after we’d been practicing for awhile, and giggled when they found us outside playing baseball. They disappeared back inside the house, and reemerged with a homemade breakfast of toast, fruit salad, yogurt and orange juice. We took a break from training and sat down to a beautiful outdoors breakfast with our four bed-headed children. We talked and laughed and licked our plates clean.
That night, we went to the game as a family, ate stadium hotdogs and nachos, and those sweet little chitlins cheered wildly for their momma, even after her pitch came up short.

Sometimes failure is laced with unexpected successes.
Looking at this experience two months later, I can put the embarrassment of failing on the mound behind me, as I recall and cherish the beautiful moments this failure created for me and my sweetie and our four little ones. Thank you Skysox and 95.1 for giving me this blessed opportunity to fail and love it.


Rand & Leah said...

Cumorah this is why I love you so much. You always can find such sweet moments in uncomfortable ones:) Happy marriages make me smile and also make me grateful to be part of one.

Rachel Hunt said...

Ah! So it looks like we have TWO radio stars in our family. :) First, congratulations on your big win. Second, your story is a really beautiful story. I love picturing Dan helping you practice. And lastly, even if the ball slipped, you looked very lovely in those turquoise pants.


Tricia Lauritzen said...

Thanks for sharing. I love this post.

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