In 1990, the same thing happened.
In 1991, I was selected for the district team. We won the county championship. The island championship. And the state championship.
When we lost two straight games in the regional tournament, one of the infielders defecated in my hotel room bed that night…
That’s another story for another time.
There is a reason why this ring – THIS Fantasy Camp ring – This Fantasy Camp ring that is modeled after the 1986 World Series Championship Ring – is important.
The game of baseball was twelve years of my life. It’s all I knew until I started improvising in a dramatics class to impress a girl.
I didn’t care about grades. I didn’t care about being cool. I didn’t care about going to the sophomore dance with anyone – I was too busy trying to finally get the call up to varsity (which actually happened on the day of the sophomore dance).
But the sky started falling. Change was in the air. There was an inevitability that baseball was not going to be my life. I tried to quit twice so I could end it on my terms. I was too young to end it on my terms – it was easy to convince a kid who made this game his life for so long otherwise.
I tried to stay focused but I couldn’t. To this day, people think I’m ticked off at something when all I’m doing is trying to focus. That was because when I was a teenager, failing to keep focus ticked me off. Today, I can focus but, I have resting ticked off face when I do it.
(And, for the record, if I’m trying to maintain personal neutrality… I also look really ticked off – which defeats the purpose of remaining neutral.)
Tried to quit twice, but managed to walk away completely without quitting the third time. Literally transferred colleges; walked off the field and into a theater.
There was no closure.
It’s very hard to live a life being bitter about something you loved. Being bitter about something that was fun. ‘What ifs’ and ‘coulda shouldas’ are fine and dandy to consider, but the bottom line is – in all likelihood – as in this particular case – it’s out of your control.
There was inevitability.
But there was no closure.
Those first two days of Fantasy Camp I had resting ticked off face. This is when I finally learned why it appeared I was so ticked off as a teenager on the field… I was trying to focus.
You know what you can’t do when you’re really trying hard to get focused?
Fun doesn’t come with focus. Fun comes naturally. It relaxes you.
Know what happens when you relax?
It focuses you.
The moment the first pitch in a game situation cracked off my wooden bat for a double, the fun returned. The fun returned and I no longer had to think about being focused.
The fun focused me.
And that’s why I have this ring.
Because you don’t get them when you’re not having fun.
If you have fun until you’ve completed the task at hand?
You get closure.
No what ifs.