For my tenth birthday, I asked my Mom for a baseball glove. Being that she loves me and desires to see me happy, my mother purchased a glove for my birthday gift. Knowing that I am right handed, when the salesperson asked what kind I wanted, she said that I would wear it on my right hand. I don’t remember the exact reason why but the glove could not be returned or exchanged. So, I became a “south-paw” and the switch was actually beneficial.
With the glove on my right hand, I found that I was more agile – - stretching to make a catch like a first baseman, and maneuvering around fluently without holding my right crutch. Still, throwing with my left hand was awkward and somewhat uncomfortable. I started throwing a pink Spaulding (rubber) ball against my bedroom wall. Occasionally, I found someone to play catch (usually one of my two sisters, or on rare opportunities – my brother). Mostly, I would toss it against the stoop or wall of our apartment complex. During the summer of my eleventh birthday, we moved to New Jersey and that was when my south-paw abilities started to flourish. There was a Knights of Columbus (K of C) less than a mile from our new home with a large field where I could play. I drew a box against the back wall of the K of C building and started pitching – moving further and further away from the wall until I was at least 60 feet away. It took over a year but eventually, I could hit that box throwing a fastball or curveball or changeup near 75% (that’s right, I said seventy-five percent) of the time.
Thinking back on that experience now, I realize the real gift my Mom gave me. It took a lot of hard work to learn how to throw left-handed. A lot of: trail and error; patience and persistence; frustration; and an overall attitude that “anything is possible!” Thirty-plus years later, I don’t throw as well as I use to (hardly play catch at all anymore). The main point is that I still can do it, if I have a mind to. I developed this ambidextrous talent based on a passion for baseball. I never lived the dream of becoming a professional ball player. I did experience the joy of playing ball. Additionally, I was not the last guy to be picked for a team because I could pitch based on how the opponent batted.
Passions have a way of bringing “gifts” to the surface. The necessity of having to learn how to throw with my left arm because I owned a glove made for a lefty manifested out of a love for the game. The talent was developed out of “blood, sweat, and tears.” Believe me, I fell flat on my face quite a few times while stretching to catch the ball, playing a tricky hop, or just simply losing my balance. I came home dirty with scratches up and down both arms rummaging through thorn bushes searching for a missed call.
From these gifts / talents, I learned to live by some strong values. I learned that if you want something bad enough, you should not let anything stand in your way. I learned that it takes hard work (dedication) to achieve at any level. I learned the “value” of those bumper-sticker sayings that I hated so much – “If at first you don’t succeed try, try again,” or “Never say never, never say can’t” and, “You can do anything you set your mind to (anything is possible)!” These values permeated my entire adult life.
The roles that I take on as an adult were impacted by a simple mistake. Was it luck, faith, or something entirely different that made my Mom buy the wrong glove? The total effects of her gift were definitely unknown and unforeseen. Her actions were pure. Yet, would I have ever pushed myself hard enough to train for a marathon? Did I have the determination to bench press twice my weight? How could I ever start my own business since I only worked for corporate America all my adult life? Could I pick myself back up after suffering the humiliation of bankruptcy? All of these events (and a few more) accomplished. Are these achievements possible merely because of a baseball glove?
Believe it or not, it is in our chemistry – - a GOD GIVEN GIFT, because we are Children of GOD. This Power is inside of each and every one of us. So, again I ask – - “What is your Passion?” Moreover, what gifts have been born unto these passions? Likewise, what values developed because of your experiences?