Getting ready to hunker down and watch some NCAA March Madness has caused me to think about some of my own experiences with upsets or the proverbial choke that eventually happens to all good teams or players.
Growing up, I played softball until 7th grade. I was pretty decent. And by decent I mean, I had the deadly triple-threat combination of being able to hit, throw and catch. You could've labeled me an All-Star and you would not have been that far off (toot-toot, I think that's my own horn).
Anyway, I digress. I quit in 7th grade to "pursue other opportunities." Honestly, I'm pretty positive that's what I told most of my softball playing friends. Who says that? Especially as a 7th grader? My other opportunities were AAU basketball. Which really just boiled down to one opportunity. One opportunity to spend every weekend of my spring and summer sitting on the end of the bench in a really obscure gymnasium usually, in Little Rock or maybe Pine Bluff. On a good weekend we were in Fayetteville. Oh, there I go again digressing.
So, I quit in softball in 7th grade and picked it back up again in 11th grade playing for my church team. What a band of misfits-- one church secretary, the music minister's daughter, one high school assistant principal, one regular lady in her mid-30s and six or seven of my friends. Somehow we managed to win more games than we lost and then came the proverbial choke. My horse was no longer high.
They put me in at pitcher. We had a huge lead. I walked nine straight batters and gave up on pitching. One of my friends stepped in and walked two more batters. She tossed the ball back to me. Another walked batter. And that's when my life changed forever.
I walked away from the pitching rubber to "re-group," if you will. And you will. The church secretary walked over to me and whispered things in my ear no church secretary should know about. I'm talking bombs. F-bombs, S-bombs, D-bombs-- you name the four-letter word and she said it to me. I mean, I knew Methodists were pretty liberal and more open about abusing grace than a Baptist, but this was too much! It's not like my Sunday School teacher was offering to wash my feet while listening to DMX-- where was the line? I limped back to the pitching rubber and got us out of the inning. We won the game.
I never pitched again, which is probably good because the church secretary would've needed to go to church every single day for 16 years to make up for the tongue lashing she gave me.