Yesterday, throughout the day, I kept having these waves of desire to quit umpire school. Not because I’m having a bad time or because anyone was mean to me or because I’m bad at it(1) but because of the sheer amount of energy it takes to fail regularly and repeatedly, which is what I’m going to be doing here (what we’re all going to be doing here) for the next two weeks. I look ahead at those days and I think “…I don’t want to do this. I could just quit.”
It’s bullshit, of course.
Not because I couldn’t quit, because I totally could.(2) But because I don’t actually want to quit; there’s just a small corner of my brain that doesn’t want to work. It wants to lie on the beach in the sun or watch tv or take a nap instead of practicing stances or memorizing the fucking dimensions of a baseball diamond.(3)
We all have these parts of ourselves, I think, or most of us do anyway, the part that says “don’t try, relax, don’t embarrass yourself.” And that part of me kept showing up yesterday, rearing its ugly head and just checking if I wouldn’t really rather be reading a book than standing in the hot sun in a black shirt learning about drop steps.
Yesterday about halfway through the day, a guy split his pants down the back seam.(4) He had compression shorts on, fortunately, but he had to spend the rest of the day doing drills with his ass hanging out of his pants. That can’t have been fun. Even though everyone was cool about it, he still had to know that everyone noticed.
This is the risk we day when we try something new. When we go outside our routines, make ourselves more vulnerable to embarrassment, to heartbreak, to ridicule. Sometimes we’re at the top of our game, and some days we’re calling strikes with our asses out in the breeze.
But what’s the alternative, really? Never do anything? Never try anything? To come to the end of life only to discover we haven’t lived?(5)
(1) I’m actually pretty decent. I mean, I’m a total newbie and am fucking up about a squillion things a minute, but I have presence and attitude and I’m a fast learner. It could be worse.
(2) As the only woman here, I would be loathe to quit and contribute to the idea that some people have that chicks can’t hang as umpires. I would do it if I needed to, but I would really need to.
(3) By the way, umpire school is one of the few places in which the Pythagorean Theorem is actually used in real life. Hey kids, come to umpire school for the thankless job for no money, stay for the math! 🙂
(4) Note to self: pack extra pants to take to the field every day. Also, buy compression shorts. Your polar bear underwear are cute, but no one needs to see them unintentionally.
(5) Oh, Henry David Thoreau, how I love you.