Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Time In Between

It's a weird feeling, to dedicate yourself religiously to something and then suddenly realize it's over. It's even weirder when somewhere in your mind you know that the end is coming. It's inevitable, unstoppable, and always looming but incredibly shocking.

The end I'm speaking of is softball. It's the sport I started in first or second grade and the game that took me around the country. I played from sun up to sun down some days, and spent hours upon hours practicing even the most minute of details. Remembering to raise an elbow or move your hands back an inch in your stance could make the difference between hitting well and trying to hit yourself out of a paper bag.

Sometimes I think about what it would have been like had I spent an average of three hours per day practicing the guitar or writing. Those activities don't require a finite end except for maybe death, and maybe I'd be a rock star or well published. But then I consider what it would have really been like and if I had it to change I wouldn't change anything at all.

The actual act of hitting and fielding may be irrelevant to my life now (except of course for the occasional office softball game should my life come to that) but what softball has given me takes my breath away. The game provided me with some of the most important people in my life, from coaches to friends, and fans who supported me along the way. Softball gave me the utmost respect for my dad, who spent countless hours teaching me how to play without ever bragging about how great of a player he was. I hope to have learned from that. It also helped pay for life during college and provided me a platform for recognition and travel.

Most of all, softball taught me the power of persistence. For better or worse, I now know that I can and will run myself into the ground. I will work harder than most people. I will give everything I own to achieve what I want, and that could perhaps make all the difference in my future.

So perhaps all those hours scraping holes through my pants sliding into second and running at six in the morning were worthwhile. I may never see another 65 mile per hour curve ball but who cares? Now it's all about living in the moment and moving onto New York University to prepare for a new future.

Yet there remains one part of my life that's left unanswered. Now that I'm not playing seven hour double headers or traveling to some obscure place for a softball game, what should I do? What happens to the time in between? Will I pick up the guitar or increase the writing? Most of all, where are my four pack abdominals going and when did my wrists start to decrease in size? When did my thighs stop touching when my feet are shoulder width apart? Softball changed me much more than I'd thought.

I'm running, working out, embarking on 20 mile bike rides, playing basketball, dancing in the living room, umpiring, and trying to keep up my physical activity. It's still not the same, and although it's nice to be able to walk without feeling intense pain in my lower back, I need to find a sport, a physical compliment for everything else in my life.

I have yet to figure out what my new physical obsession will be but I can tell you one thing. I wouldn't trade the hours I spent on softball for the world. As much as I hated it sometimes, the act of dedicating yourself so completely to anything is beautiful. It's still an adjustment in the making but I've come to terms with the end.

Softball will always be a part of me but I'm ready to move on. It's time for a new phase in my life, full of new achievements and something else to fill the time in between.


Today's music feature might bring you back to the 80's a bit but they're current rock sound will remind you that The Virgins are right on the cutting edge of the New York music scene. Check 'em out and enjoy.


Devonna said...

Hey -- and what about Mom -- and the time spent taking you to practice ("I don't want to go to Varsity practice) (down to Santa Maria) and hauling the kids and all the softball hotels (remember the Knights in our hotel room at midnight -- uhhhh we need to be up at 8:00 a.m.) and watching and cheering at all those games.....
I remember most of the players and most of their numbers too.

Lauren Proctor said...

Absolutely. All those trips to Santa Maria and all the weekends in Compton and Westminster, where I'm sure you really wanted to spend time. And of course all the times you made me step up my game. Much love, LP

Joseph said...

I suggest climbing. It goes well for the obsessed (I mean dedicated).

Lauren Proctor said...

Thanks Joseph. Maybe I'll give climbing a try. Also, I checked out your blog...I love your T.S. Eliot quote.