“What we play is life”
– Louis Armstrong
Whenever I pitch in a game, I try to find my song. I sing it to myself and it helps me find my rhythm. But it can’t just be any song. The tempo has to be just right. Too fast and I leave the ball high. Too mellow and I’m not throwing hard enough. When I throw batting practice to the Oakland A’s, I want to be sure I have my song.
Today, I threw batting practice to Northeastern University’s baseball team. I was really nervous. It’s not easy walking into a team practice, where the players
don’t know you, and then performing. Especially when you may be the only woman they have ever seen throw a baseball. But I needed to throw to prepare for Spring Training and I needed the mental challenge of controlling my
I release a perfect strike to the first batter. I try not to think and just throw. I
have to find my rhythm. Take ball…step back two steps…step forward three steps…throw…follow through…and then repeat. But then I throw a ball and my mind goes into overdrive. I need a song! Keith Urban is not working. Instead I’m thinking whether my front elbow is up. The Plain White T’s are too slow and the ball hits the plate. Black Eye Peas then race through my head and the ball sails high.
But then the rhythm comes and I enjoy a meditative state of throwing strikes. U2 had come to my rescue. In a matter of a few minutes, my heart rate dropped and I was settling in. An assistant coach stopped me and moved me back about 5 feet because “I was throwing too hard.” I was now in my moment and I was having fun.
At the end of practice, Northeastern Head Coach and former Major Leaguer, Neil McPhee, shook my hand, smiled, and shared, “they are going to love you”.
And I can’t help but think that Coach McPhee just sang his own song to me.