For the past couple of months life has been throwing me curve balls that I never saw coming. But, somehow instead of striking out, I hit them out of the park. And today I just realized what I thought were strike outs, were only foul balls, and I am back up and running.
I chose baseball for one reason only when comparing it to my life. To me, Baseball has easy rules compared to the other sports, hit the ball, catch the ball, and run the bases. I can do that, which is probably the only reason why I’m using it to compare it to my life.
In baseball you are your own star player, you can make or break any game by the swing of a bat. This puts an immense amount of pressure on a person. You either do what you were taught to do, or everybody sees you as a failure. So what happens if you get hurt and taken out of the game?
If you didn’t know already my team is the Saint Louis Cardinals. They were the underdogs the whole season, and no one saw them winning the World Series, but yet they did. Only focusing on Albert Pujols, the star player, people failed to notice Mr. #23 until he was running homeruns in the play-offs. This is why I turned to David Freese for my inspiration.
My curve ball was I broke my wrist. Now this might seem like pretty bad luck, but when you compare it to the luck I was having, I really didn’t mind it. Even though I was in a cast past my elbow for a month and a half, and half cast for two more weeks after that, I still took it with a grain of salt. I had already lost two people close to me, and the dreams I wanted weren’t coming true.
It felt like my cast was just another reminder that I couldn’t do something. If anyone knows me they know I’m a pretty independent person too, so losing the ability to do small things such as squeezing toothpaste onto my toothbrush, or picking up my Pomeranian was a tough pill to swallow. I couldn’t do my hair, I couldn’t wear half of my wardrobe, and I couldn’t drive. It was hard waking up in the morning just thinking how I was going to get through the day or how I was going to get food to eat when I could hardly do anything for myself.
In 2009, David Freese had left-ankle surgery. In 2010, when a rehab assignment took him to Double-A, he was rounding third base when he blew out his right ankle so badly that he needed reconstructive surgery that took eight months to heal. Doctors cleared him for spring training in February but told him they wished his wheel had up to two more months to recover. No worries: A fastball to the hand on May 1 caused him to miss that much. “Breaking my hand actually allowed me to play through the postseason,” says Freese. “My ankles got to recover. Funny how things work out.”
So how in two years do you go from rock bottom broken ankle and hand, to one year later winning the World Series? Hard work, perseverance and hope I realized when I found myself hurt and out of the game. So I focused on that. I worked twice as hard, and can now say I am an expert with one hand. Perseverance was the key, and I knew that. I knew if I was determined to do something, nothing would stop me and knowing I had that amount of dedication inside of me was a surprise to myself. Hope was the hardest to keep holding onto. Hope that when I am done with this cast, all of the other issues I had would go away with it.
It was hard, but I learned more about myself than I have ever had before. I learned the virtue of patience. I learned that my best friends enjoy chocolate at any hour, and my Pomeranian takes naps daily around 2 pm. I learned that people are nicer to you when you have a bright orange cast on your arm because they feel bad for you. I learned that chivalry does still exist when you have to rely on someone other than yourself. I learned that even if I’m alone and without money, I’ll find food to eat. I learned that I sleep better with Pandora playing and I enjoy writing by pencil instead of typing. I could still clean and sweep with one hand on the broom and the other nestled under my cast. I learned trash bags do break when dragged to the dumpster. I learned that folding your laundry was still something I hated, and my clothes would inevitably be wrinkly. But most of all I learned that David Freese and I are a lot more alike than I thought we were. Maybe I couldn’t swing a baseball bat, but it sure did feel like I won the World Series with all my new found independence.
Freese is 28 years old, and has gone from rock bottom, to a World Series champion. He failed out of college, he almost lost his dream to a DUI, and he has broken many bones to keep him from succeeding; but he never gave up. Throughout all the trouble he is now MVP of the Saint Louis Cardinals, and there is no doubt in my mind that he can lead us there again, even without Pujols.
It seemed like my freedom was taken away from me for two months, but now that I have it back I can appreciate the work I went through to get here now. Who would’ve thought that breaking my arm would help me learn the basics about myself that I never focused on before? I could do anything I wanted, and I can even do it with one hand.