Thursday, February 17, 2011

Root, Root, Rooting for the Home Team Gal

I was a happy, little ballplayer the other day. I hit the game-winning run in softball on Valentine’s Day. My team, the mighty Stingers, edged out the Fountain of the Sun team 7 to 6. While this may not seem like a news story worthy of ESPN, it was a big deal to me, and of course to my team.

We had a healthy advantage throughout the game, but our opponents chipped away at our lead until they had a breakthrough inning and scored enough runs to tie the game. The bottom of our batting order took up the challenge. Carol got a hit, followed by Deanna. Connie, who bats last in the lineup, smacked a nice shot and her pinch runner, Carla was safe at first. Now there were loaded bases and two outs.

I came up to bat and knew the pressure was on. I do my best when there are no runners on base. I play on a senior women’s team (for ladies 50 years and older) and a lot of the women cannot run that well due to past injuries. I can usually trot down to first base in a timely manner (especially when my teammate Karen screams “RUN!” like the fate of the world depended on it.) However, when there are runners on base I not only have to make sure that I get on, but that I don’t get the other runners out.

I walked up to the plate feigning more confidence than I felt. I generally take the first pitch to get a feel for things (and pray the pitcher will screw up and walk me.) Of course the pitcher’s first attempt was right across the plate. Darn. Then she tossed a couple of balls. The next pitch looked inside, but it wasn’t. Another strike. Now the count was 2 and 2. My hopes of walking and letting one of the stronger batters in the lineup take my place was quickly evaporating. When I have two strikes I’ll usually swing at anything that isn’t rolling on the ground or sailing over the backstop. She pitched the ball and I hit it. I took off to first base. I didn’t even stop to see where the ball went (it’s a bad habit I’m trying to break.) I got to first base and Shirley, the first base coach, gave me a congratulatory hand slap and said the game was won.

It was an important victory for the team as we had not been doing so well. We beat the team with the worst record the game before, but prior to that we had lost 9 straight games. Ouch. Unfortunately I was not able to bask in glory during the post game celebration as I had to pick up my spouse, CB, from the airport. However, our team manager and star player, Mary Lou, gave me a victory sucker (the candy type.)

So why am I telling you this story? Although I am happy to have come through for my team, the real message is about perseverance. I have never been, nor am I now, a great ball player. However, I do try to focus, give it my best, and make efforts to improve. At an age when a lot of folks would hang up their glove and move to safer past times, I am determined to succeed where I failed in my youth.

The same is true of the negative mindset I adopted for far too many years. I not only chose to reprogram my thinking, I decided to write about it. While co-authoring the book, Erase Negativity and Embrace the Magic Within, I interviewed several people who faced adversity and overcame it. The stakes were a lot higher than a recreational softball game. Some folks were abused, or abused themselves, businesses went bankrupt and other businesses were rebuilt. One mother dealt with the death of her only son, and a daughter tried to overcome the tragedy of her mother’s murder.

The book is a practical guide on how to reduce negativity and embrace happiness. From meth addicts to multi-millionaires, the book offers powerful experiences of individuals who have faced dramatic challenges, but did not lose hope. Using these compelling biographies, as well as practical advice and simple exercises, the reader is guided on an internal journey toward adopting a more joyful way to live.

Life is not about winning all the time. It’s about getting up after you’re down and trying again. So if you, or someone you care about needs some help erasing negativity, please visit If you email me at and let me know you read this blog, I’ll even autograph the book and throw in free shipping as a bonus. I want to help others, but it still makes me feel good to know there are folks out there who read my articles and are rooting for my success as well.

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