Is it okay to be afraid of the ball?

I was at the (ASA) gym today. In the slow pitch alley was a gaggle of little kids and a few dads teaching them how to hit.

Now, whenever you have a gaggle of anything, you can rest assured that 90% of your gaggle is not paying a lick of attention to what the leaders of said gaggle wants them to be paying attention to.

At one point, one of the dads pulled a boy aside (and, yes, it was the kid in the back - the one goofing off the most), and starts to coach the kid.

At first I'm thinking, "Dude, he's just spent the last 20 minutes cutting up, what makes you think he's going to pay attention to you now?" But whatever. So the dad was still ccoaching the kid when I walked by a few minutes later. What do I hear?

"It's okay to be afraid of the ball."

What the? It's not okay to be afraid of the ball! If you're afraid of the ball, you can never hit it.

But I did start thinking, maybe I'm wrong. Did I miss something? Is it really okay to be afraid of the ball?

Or maybe it's about choosing what to be afraid of?

It'll be the topic of my next Letter to my Children, to be sure.

I talked to Kris about this later, and he totally agrees with my initial impression, for many reasons.

  1. Fear causes you to tense up.
  2. Fear causes you to focus in the wrong place.
  3. Fear gives your opponent an advantage.

Kris said, "Sure it might hurt, but bruises heal."

And then revealed to me, "At one point, I think I led teams in hit being by the pitch."

"You have to look at what's going on. Is the pitcher trying to hurt you, or is he trying to get you out? If he can get you out with intimidation, that's a huge win. You can't let him have that advantage."

Yeah.

No intimidation! Come on, ball!

 My problem with technology

So my problem with technology is that not only is it pervasive, it is also disconnected.

Huh?

Okay, so, this site is a nice little collection of things in some way important to me. It complements my "professional" site quite well, hiding my charming personality quirks from the rest of the world in this small space I've carved out.

I can add content to this site by sitting down at a web-enabled computer, calling up the site, navigating to the add-content page and strart typing.

And that happens once in a long while, let me tell you.

In reality, I'm probably anywhere else than in front of a web-enabled computer when I think of something I want to write about.

So, take for example when I'm at the gym, walking on the treadmill, and come up with a brilliant (or not so brilliant) idea for a post. Well, crap, now what do I do?

Yep. What any other geek would do: pull out the Treo and start typing.

You think I'm kidding.

Okay, so, now I have a great post all ready to enter.

Except that it's on my Palm and not where it ultimately needs to be.

And what are the chances I forget to copy this entire rant over to my site?

Pretty high.

I have the same problem with my laptop when I'm working offline, which happens more frequently than I would have predicted.

So, the problem I have is not to get my thoughts out of my head, but rather to get them some place central where I can find them, remember them, laugh at them, enjoy them again.

And even more importantly, many years from now, realize how far we've come in merging technologies.

 Sometimes, just sometimes, things work out okay.

Hmph.

I almost started this out as a one way chat with the rest of the world:

"Remember that high-school boyfriend who contacted me..."
I'm probably influenced by the sites I read regularly (Dooce, Jonas Luster, Jason Kottke and a few others), which are sites clearly directed to the masses. This site, my friend, is for me, though, so I need to stop that crap.

So, about that high school sweetie...

I've been instant messaging with Paul (said, high school boyfriend) a lot lately. Well, I'm not sure if it's "a lot" over the longish term: we message a lot in fits and spurts.

I love that phrase "fits and spurts." What a great word. Spurts.

Turns out, a lot can happen in a decade and a half since high school.

Admittedly, I've lurked in sites like classmates.com, where I look up what some people are doing. But I've nevered entered my information into the sites. On one hand, the information they ask for always seems too personal; on the other hand, writing a summary of one's life after high school is kinda hard.

And, if you have a third hand, where I am in life isn't where I expected to be. Telling the world that is terribly diificult. Admitting that to myself was hard enough.

The whole thing made worse when I read the head cheerleader from my senior year is a floor manager at some Las Vegas casino. Is that really where she thought she'd be? Is she happy there?

So, easy decision: no life summary for me. Especially when compared to my friends from high school. (Why must the comparison always happen?)

Scott is a Naval pilot instructor. He's doing exactly what he wanted to do. He even said as much in high school. Married, two kids. Although Paul gave me the details, I managed the generalities from classmates.com.

Jenn is another friend I was able to find on classmates.com. She's currently a professor at the collegiate level, having been so for some time.

And, turns out, I'm not the last to get married, nor the only one childless. Though, it seems to be only the women in our group who don't have kids. The men are all married with at least two each!

Brad works with Jeff at Jeff's company in Boston. I forget what Tammy is doing, or Cindy.

And Paul. My link back to the group. He reached out. Found the hints of me that have leaked out into the Intarweb. Or, as he says, it's a lot easier to find a person with an interesting name like Hodsden than most (much more) common names like the rest of the group.

Paul is at seminary. He's studying in the Lutheran faith. His timing in contacting me was quite fortuitous, as is his course of studies: the older I get, the more puzzled I get with people who completely believe in this organized religion thing. I kept some of our early conversations.

Back in high school, we talked a lot about various philosophical things, much in the way only teenagers can ponder the universe, the celestial music and what it all means (42, of course).

Our conversations today are much the same. If I'm not in the "What the heck is up with this Christianity thing? You can't really believe in a bodily ascension can you? Don't you realize religion developed as a way for the powerful to control the masses?" sort of mood, our conversations are of a "Hey. Hey. What's up? Not much. Me, too." sort of drivel.

So, he's married with two kids. Two cute kids, that is.

I have not seen any recent picture of him or his wife, so he's bald until he tells me otherwise.

[Hi, Paul!]

 Finishing up the little things

Having little things on my to-do list for long periods of time causes a build up of stress that can be relieved only by completing said tasks.

I'm finally getting some of these things done.

Today, I finally (finally!) finished the MPUL rosters for the UPA. I had dragged my feet because I wanted to use the online rostering system for the league, using it as my test case. That didn't happen. By a lot.

Then I didn't want to submit the rosters because there were too many people who hadn't paid up, or were not roster current.

But I finally finished it. I wrote the code to email all the people and tell them to pay up, or submit a waiver as needed. Then wrote the code to generate the league members listing as one big roster. And now it's done. And now it's a load off my mind.

Now, to finish Bharat's task...

 Intimidating oneself

This past weekend, Kris, Ben and Kyle ran in the Wildflower Triathalon. I went to support them, carry their crap, run errands, and cheer them on. When we were leaving, as I walked up a flight of stairs a triathalon participant caught my eye at the top of the stairs.

She was a fit black woman with her triathalon number pinned to her jersey. About my height with a bright smile on her face, she carried herself like a tired athlete who conquered the course and walked away victorious.

Crossing the net and projecting incredible athletic feats and daring accomplishments, I made a note of her number intending to look it up today.

And so I did.

I went to the Wildflower 2005 website, and tried to look up the triathlete's information by her bib number, 8579. Turns out, the search form worked only by event, first name, last name, gender and age group. Well, I knew her gender and guessed her event was the Olympic distance triathalon. There were over 3100 women participants, and the results displayed 50 athletes to a page.

Ugh.

So, I guessed her age between 18 and 30, because of her bib number (which were allocated based on age), giving me 647 participants to look through. She wasn't on those pages, so I looked in 31 to 40. She wasn't there. Good lord woman, how old are you?

41.

Turns out, the woman is Retha Howard. She completed the triathalon in just under 4 hours: 3:52:07. She lives in San Francisco and trains with the Embarcadero YMCA. She ran a 9:52/mile pace in the 10k, and rode a 38:26/mile pace in the 40k ride. She spent 9:41 in transistions (contrasting to the Kris-Ben-Kyle transistion times of about 2:10).

Putting this all into perspective now, Lora Bowman did the triathalon in 3:44:04. Cat Rondeau, uber athlete, did it in 3:13:39. I'm closer to Lora, and apparently Retha.

Lessons learned?

I'm still projecting every other person out there to be better, stronger, faster than I am. I'm still intimidating myself when I don't need to be. I'm still not objective when it comes guessing anything about someone else: abilities, age, etc.

As much confidence as I project, apparently I haven't internalized nearly enough.

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