A few years ago I was on the church softball team. Being a church league for adults it was mostly filled with people who used to be able to play well, but time and a few extra pounds had lowered their skill level down a lot lower than their imaginations thought they were. In other words, most of the teams sucked. And none was worse than ours!
After a couple of weeks of frustration I started to figure out how to hit. The first 5-6 times up to bat my golf-styled swing lead to easy outs as all I could do was hit the ball right down the fairway… easily gobbled up by the pitcher, 2nd baseman, or center fielder. While watching a few games I made an interesting observation: There were a lot of dropped balls. I noticed that there was a high likelihood that the person playing first base wasn’t going to be able to keep his foot on the bag and catch a poorly thrown ball.
So I learned to just keep running. In game after game this strategy worked. I’d hit a ground ball to 3rd base and instead of trying to beat out the play I’d just round first and keep running. Time and time again they’d drop the ball or it’d fly over their head and I was off to second or even third.
The last game of the year, while I was riding to the game with a few other players, I joked that I wasn’t going to stop at third base. I was going to just keep the calamity going all the way home. I had a feeling that if I rounded third the same way I rounded first, I could make it a home run.
So, true to form our team was down big with just two innings left. I get up and absolutely tee off on a ball that splits the outfielders and one hops to the fence. It’s a stand-up double and I could probably make it to third if I weren’t so out of shape. The third base coach gave me the stop sign at second. But I look at his stop sign and throw caution to the wind… it’s time to go home! As I got close to third I could tell by the way the third basemen was looking that the ball was coming in and he would tag me out. So I rounded third. My locomotion– instead of sliding– caused him to look up for a brief second and he bobbled the ball. Halfway home he tossed the ball to the catcher which made me stop and retreat to third. But wouldn’t you know it? When the catcher tossed the ball back to third, he dropped it and I turned for home… stretching a double into an inside the park home run.
During my commute yesterday I was thinking about this, I love rounding third. I love the whimsy of finishing stuff off with a bang. Which is a weird statement for a guy who spends a lot of his mental day imagining ideas for projects that will never get done. That might lead you to believe I’m a project start-up kind of guy. Nope, I love seeing that small percentage of ideas come to fruition.
With three of those “hey, wouldn’t it be cool if” projects just hours, days, or weeks away from completion I’m finding that rounding 3rd base has given me a lot of energy and momentum. I know that locomotion, surprise, and a smile will carry it home from here.