Wednesday, May 12, 2010

tangents

well i'm told it's my turn to write. i suppose it is. amber has done the last few blogs, so i guess it's only fair. problem - nothing to write about. there's just nothing too grand going on these days. i can't even take the easy way out and write a book review because i haven't finished a book in forever (at the moment i find myself trapped within the words of shakespeare, which isn't exactly light reading). now don't get me wrong - it has been an eventful month with football, ob/gyn appointments, baby gear shopping, amber realizing she is no longer in control of her own body, mother's day, and other such activities. but i normally write about the top news stories as opposed to these smaller, everyday events. but i heard it once said that there really is nothing bigger than the little things. so this is my attempt to take an insignificant moment, break it down and analyze it, go off on a tangent or two, and make it headline news.
it was just another softball game. i've played enough of them that it really isn't anything special. i must say upfront that softball is not my sport. i consider myself capable at excelling at most athletic endeavors, but i know my limits - i can't ice skate and i can't bat. maybe with time i could learn to skate (not too many chances to practice in west texas), but the extent of my batting skills will always be to either hit the ball straight into the ground and use my speed or to pop it straight up and pray for an error. with this deficiency clearly in mind, i reluctantly signed my name on the roster for the ward softball team.
a word now on the married student ward that amber and i find ourselves in at the present time. we have been here well over a year and a half now, but we still have trouble calling it "our" ward. the only real friends we've had in the ward were the maughans, who followed us over from the singles ward, and have now moved on and left us to fend for ourselves. we have absolutely nothing bad to say about our ward. we fully accept that we are to blame for not bonding with the ward like we wished. amber and i are just two very shy people who don't make friends quickly. it's not that we need friends in the ward. we go to church because the church is true. but having a friend or two doesn't hurt. i was in the singles ward for well over a year before anyone realized who i was. it wasn't until the summer hit and the singles ward starting playing some sports that i finally made some friends.
and that leads us to my self-realization. i am a shy guy. i don't shine in social situations with people i don't know. i just don't have much confidence in myself. but one of the few things that i believe i am good at is athletic competition. it's the one area of my life i feel sure about. through the years i have found that nearly all of my friends have been made while playing sports. it's where, in most instances, i can relax and be myself, with no worries of looking silly. it's where i actually know what i'm talking about and can contribute to the conversation. this all came to mind while i sat in my elders quorum meeting with the sign-up sheet in my lap. was i jumping for joy at the thought of playing softball? not at all. i enjoy playing it for fun, but like i said, it really isn't my sport. i was a little worried about looking like a fool. softball is definitely not the sport i would have chosen as the opportunity to bond with my fellow brethren. but it was an opportunity. i'd never feel like i'm part of this ward until i tried.
the day of the first game finally rolled around. our wonderful downstairs neighbors and fellow ward members, the stewarts, offered us a ride to the game. unfortunately this meant i couldn't run away and escape after my first strike out or throwing error. i was stuck. trapped even. we got to the field and it was time to warm up. and that leads us to my next self-realization - i am a mental case. i really wouldn't be surprised if, given the chance, a psychiatrist diagnosed me with anxiety problems, to go along with my many other problems. i am, in sporting terms, a choker.
let me paint you a picture. on one side of the canvas is cool and composed scott. he's funny and charming. he's somewhat smart, articulate, and just a pleasure to be around. and he could quite possibly be the greatest athlete you've never known. when playing sports with friends, he can pretty much do anything he wants. and did i mention how incredibly humble he is? :) but on the other side of the canvas is nervous and anxious scott. he is quiet as a mouse, stutters on any word over two syllables, and he's a touch sweaty and stinky at times. and when it comes to sports... well the words "bumbling idiot" come to mind. and what is the difference between these two scotts? pressure. i can't handle it. both in my social life as well as in sports. put me in an organized league where winning matters and you might as well blindfold me. i miss wide open lay-ups, let easy pop flies bounce off my head, trip over my own feet, and show an overall lack of coordination.
by far the worse situation you could possibly put me in is have me throw a softball around with someone i don't know in a small amount of space. and that's exactly where i was. my teammate stood not ten feet away, and i threw that ball everywhere but to him. i actually worried for my life when i hit another teammate, a giant of a man who happens to be a byu shot put champion, in the back with an errant throw. that was where i would have jumped in my car and took off had i been driving, but i was stuck. so the game begins. and sure enough, my first at-bat and the bases were loaded. great. dang pressure.
now i don't know if God cares so much for sports, but i know He must care for me. with the first swing of my bat, the ball goes flying past the center fielder, giving me my first ever grand slam. and with that swing, all of my anxiety was swept away and i could have some fun. i finished the day with a couple more doubles, a couple catches in the outfield, and, most importantly to me, zero errors.

i can't say if this will open me up to the ward or not. who knows if at the next game my anxiety will get the best of me and i'll be the spaz once again. and next time i go to church i just might be the same guy who sits there not saying much. but for that one hour, i opened up just a bit, had some fun with my fellow brethren, and, for a moment, could call it "my" ward. at least i'll always have my amber. :)
video
and for the record, the pictures and video are from our second game, where i succeeded once again in not being a total goofball. oh, and amber wants it known she is not the one yelling in the video. :)

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