March 12, 2011
“Progress always involves risks. You can’t steal second base and keep your foot on first.” ~Frederick B. Wilcox
I always viewed baseball as the least invasive contact sport, until I compared it to living with Stiff Person Syndrome. The opportunity to score is only when you leave the safety of the dugout–alone–just you, the pitcher, and the ability to crack a trick pitch to run for the safety of first base. A beginning.
I made a feeble attempt to leave confining dugout safety a few years ago. SPS fear and insecurity had me back in the dugout, with a different team, and still a bench- warmer. “Batter up!” Taking another chance at risk, I picked up a heavy bat, tapped the packed sand from my cleats, and looked the pitcher in the eye.
Hit in the side by a fast ball I could not duck, I hobbled to first base, but I was in position to score! Baseball involves understanding the rules, looking for opportunities, and stealing the safety of a base while sliding to avoid being out.
Catching my breath from the hard hit landing me on first base, I welcomed the opportunity to score. Alone on the field with nine players focused on taking me down, (SPS symptoms), the glare of the lights, and yelling crowd, (boos & cheers), were distractions interrupting my strategy to steal. Just breathe and focus.
My recent neuro visit was an obvious uplift for him regarding my progress–going over my stats. I have been going to the gym 3 times a week, gait aid in hand, but doing light weight training and elliptical workouts during medication peaks. Outside walking with my two hiking poles on off days is agoraphobia training. (I was stuck outside of the library last week, but a kind stranger walked me to my car.) I mentor a child and have developed some friendships and a social life topside of the SPS underworld. I still do some SPS advocacy, but within a healthy balance. Third base goals are in my sight.
Dusting off my knees from my brutal second base slide, I watch the ongoing game with renewing confidence–waiting for my third base opening. I am already contemplating home and another round at bat. My lunch as a mentor this week was appropriately the baseball favorite–an American hot dog.
“Never let the fear of striking out get in your way.” ~Babe Ruth
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