It was an early morning as I dropped my favorite baseball player off at a mall 30 minutes away to catch the van to drive to the afternoon game three hours west of the apartment....follow that one? He was a bit 'salty' as I had to wake him. In the old days, he would have been up, ate breakfast, and had his bag packed on his own. Today, however, he needed some parental push to get out of bed. With that said, he was the first player at the drop off point and he had to wait for the rest of the team.
Last night's game had me figuratively floating to my happy place. As I sat in the stands, my mind and spirit wandered to the place that always makes me smile. I can't share that place 'cause it is my happy place. I will share anything else that I own or imagine except my happy place....it's mine....if people knew where it was, then they would drop in and mess the place up or rearrange the furniture and mojo....I have a sign on my happy place door...no trespassing...People are always welcome at my not-so-happy place and anywhere else....stop by when I am not in my happy place....
Enough of that....last night as the mind wandered to wonderful places, the pitcher, another local legend, was tremendous as he had a no hitter going until the 7th inning. Then he gave up a hit to end it. However, he went deep into the 9th inning before he was replaced on the mound. Buddy was not the pitcher of choice, so he sat in his bullpen with his boys....sleeping, creating you tube exercise videos, and complaining about da man....they always complain about Sparky and Stinky Pete. This is nothing new.
As he put his gear in the car last night, he said something odd to me. "They don't like me." Huh? What? Not like you? What is there not to like? You arrive early, work hard, are a great player, reliable, witty, mend the pitcher's mound each night, get the water for the dugout and arrange the Pepsi's in the cooler as the coach likes them (three on the bottom...ice....three more....more ice....) This idea that he has that the coaches do not like him seems a bit overly sensitive and possibly absurd. So, tell me more...what makes you think that coaches don't like you? He replied: "I can tell by the way that they ignore me and treat some of the other guys...They are nicer to them and play them more even though they are not as good..."
OK, at first, I thought that he was tired, cranky, or looking for an excuse for lack of playing time. Then I reflected on my own life and I can tell when someone does not like me. Some people are not very good at hiding their disdain. For example, in graduate school I had an instructor who I did not understand at all. Her directions were wacky as was her teaching style. My classmates and I would often comment that we needed a very long happy hour after her classes because she stressed us out. I once asked her a question and she replied that I was too esoteric and could not figure it out. Hmmm....esoteric...me? First, I had to look the word up in the dictionary, because I did not know what it meant. Guess what? I am not esoteric...far from it....so our relationship went on a downward spiral.
One day she told me that she wanted me to move my seat. From the first day of class, we all sat in the same seats, but she wanted me to move mine. This seat was in the third row in the middle. I sat next to my group partner, a religious nun. We were NOT disruptive...she was a nun, for God's sake!!! Anyway, I refused to move. Before the next class, the professor placed her books on my chair before I entered the room. This was weird. She did not want any other student in the class to change...just me. Guess what I did? Yep, I moved the books. She was not pleased and told me so. Her comment was that she put the books on the chair so that I would have to move. I looked at Sister, my partner and said..."what did I do to this woman to incur her wrath?" Sister shrugged and opened her book (coward!). We continued to spar throughout the course until it was over...then I slammed her on the evaluation and earned my "A". I am sure that professor 'rod up her #%$@' needed to be sedated when she recorded a not-so-esoteric "A" on my report card.
So, I get it...Buddy feels that the coaches don't like him...it can and does happen. What can he do about it? Well, the season is more than halfway over. We are driving home during the All Star break for a week. Then he comes back to finish his stint in the bullpen. My only advice is to continue to work hard to achieve your personal goals. You will never be back on this team and you don't have to look back when you are gone. Also, it is important to know that not everyone can or will like us. If we please everyone, then we are not doing something right. Keep in mind, however, that you have made some terrific friendships with some great guys and you did reap something good from the experience. You became internally and mentally stronger. As Christina Aquilera sings in her song, "The Fighter", she thanks the people who were against her and this made her tougher and more determined. Use these words to become the man and player that you want to be...overcoming adversity through determination and grit....
'Cause if it wasn't for all
That you tried to do
I wouldn't know just how capable I am to pull through
So I wanna say thank you
Makes me that much stronger
Makes me work a little bit harder
Makes me that much wiser
So thanks for making me a fighter
Made me learn a little bit faster
Made my skin a little bit thicker
Makes me that much smarter
So thanks for making me a fighter
Never saw it coming
All of your backstabbing
Just so, you could cash in on a good thing
Before I'd realized your game
I heard you're going 'round
Playin' the victim now
But don't even begin feelin' I'm the one to blame
'Cause you dug your own grave
After all of the fights and the lies
Guess you're wanting to hurt me
But that won't work anymore
No more, uh uh, it's over
'Cause if it wasn't for all of your torture
I wouldn't know how to be this way now
And never back down
So I wanna say thank you