It's What I Do, But Not Who I Am

Describe a time you were challenged?

My first pitch sailed over the catcher’s head and slammed against the backstop. I grinned nervously and shook my right arm. Just slipped, I told myself as I dug my heal into the pitcher’s mound. I wound up and fired again. This time the ball bounced five feet in front of the plate, sending the batter skipping out of the way and the catcher sprawling into a cloud of dirt.

The next pitch was a foot outside. Another was an inch from the hitter’s chin. As pitch after pitch missed the strike zone, I grimaced and tried to hold back tears. I could hear mothers in the crowd sighing with pity. I spotted my dad squirming in the bleachers, tugging the bill of his cap. Finally, my coach called time. Eyes downcast, he trudged to the mound and snatched the ball from my glove. “Did you forget how to pitch?” he said.

The truth is: I did. It sounds ridiculous. An artist doesn’t forget how to hold a brush. A bird doesn’t forget how to fly. I had been throwing a baseball since I was 7, since my father hung a pitching screen in our backyard and drilled me from my balance point to my follow through. I had pitched in tournament championships and college showcases, on sandlots and minor league mounds. Pitching came as naturally to me as breathing....

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