“Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in, except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.” – Winston Churchill
I did. I was wrong. I learned my lesson, from a 10-year-old girl. And being that I’m her father, I must say, I’m ashamed.
Dateline: Wednesday, June 19th.
Location: Timonium, MD
Event: All-Star Game for the 9-10 LTRC Girls Softball League
This year, my daughter Emily made the All-Star team. She played for the American League and got the chance to pitch an inning. Mind you, Emily is a solid pitcher, not spectacular, not flashy, doesn’t throw real hard, but during the regular season, for our team, she was a starter. Warming up for this game I could tell she was nervous, especially after watching some other girls who can windmill pitch and then some. But she went out and did her thing. It didn’t go exactly as she hoped. She struggled with her nerves, struggled with the strike zone and the defense struggled behind her. Before there was an out, there were some walks, some hits, some infield errors and the National League had three runs on the board.
The manager did what any would do in a big game and pulled her before it got really ugly. That’s not the story here. There’s a reason pitchers have win-loss records, because you don’t win every game. This game called baseball (softball) can, without effort, humble the world’s greatest athletes. It does every day. Remember Michael Jordan and baseball? No, the lesson and my failure came next. No fear in this blog, right?
Emily wasn’t crazy about being pulled from the game, in fact privately she was pretty upset. Not angry, sad. I was proud she went out there and gave it a shot. She’s still learning, and it was a good deal of pressure, but no excuses. Still, an inning after being pulled from the mound, it was her turn in the lineup, she was headed to the plate.
I had brought my video camera and had recorded different scenes from the night, player introductions, some fielding, some pitching, some hitting and now Emily’s turn at-bat. This was her second time up and turns out her final at-bat of the night. Understand she went down swinging her first time up. Struck out. This game had not been her best. I only caught the final swing on video, but this time I was determined to record the entire at-bat.
First pitch, Emily swings. Strike. Second pitch, Emily swings. Strike. I was recording the whole time, and after being pulled from the mound, Emily was 0-2 against a pretty good pitcher. I didn’t want to record Emily going down again, so I shut off the camera. I bailed.
But Emily bore down. She took a practice cut, stepped back in and on the next pitch promptly hit a hard ground ball right up the middle for a hit. Awesome. Except I had turned off my camera. I missed her best moment of the night. I gave up. Emily refused.
Lesson learned. I tell my girls all the time to never do that. Never give up. There’s an illuminated clock on my desk that flashes that message. But I did the unthinkable, when the going got tough, I assumed the worst and turned away. Emily reached back for something extra and refused to give in. Never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in.
In that moment, and looking back on that moment, I failed as a father. I felt it strongly enough to blog about it. Admit when you’re wrong and never forget from failure can come great success. Some of the greatest ideas, actions and accomplishments have happened after people failed time and time again.
Bear down, bust your butt and believe in yourself. Trust in the human spirit and rise above.
My daughter taught me a lesson that night. The great Winston Churchill said it, but Emily hit it… right up the middle.
Until next time, thanks for taking the time.