Swing and miss. “Strike Two.” cried the umpire. I threw one more pitch right in at the player’s wrists. He swung hard, but the ball just dribbled right back to the pitcher’s mound. I picked it up and gently tossed it to the first baseman for the out.
As the batter turned back toward the dugout, his team captain stepped out and screamed, “Darrell, you’ve got to get over your fear of this guy!”
The words poured like sweet honey into my ears.
It was the third time I had gotten him out that night including two strike outs. I had completely shut down the best hitter on the best team in the league. It was the most fun I’d had in weeks.
No, I wasn’t throwing heat. Quite the contrary, I’m talking about slow-pitch recreational softball for the over-thirty crowd.
But, I was totally into it. Once a week I stood on the mound under the lights with everyone’s eye on me. Despite the butterflies in my stomach, I can’t image anything more exciting (OK, maybe skydiving!).
And, I was totally motivated! I spent several hours each week tossing balls in my driveway. I set up an area with a pitcher’s rubber and home plate laid out to the exact dimensions of those on the playing field. After I mastered the two standard softball pitches, I developed two of my own. The best was a softball version of the knuckleball. A spin-less ball that baffled batters the first time they saw it, but even when they did hit it - they could never get any distance on it.
I have friends who are obsessed with golf; others with tennis. None of them have a clue what drives me to play softball. But, then again, I don’t get why they play golf or tennis.
What motivates me to play softball or for that matter my friends to play golf and tennis? That’s easy... it’s fun! It is all about having fun... pleasure is very motivating. We all seek some pleasure in life. It’s what keeps us going. And, for those pursuits that we enjoy, we are never too tired; we always seem to find time and energy for them. It comes to us easily. If only we could find that kind of relaxed energy for work.
What is it that you can’t wait to do everyday? Is it a hobby? A sport? Sigmund Freud described that driving creative spirit as the Pleasure Principle. But, he also spoke of a contrasting principle that existed to put the brakes on our desire called the Death Instinct. Thankfully that theory has been disproved, however, it’s still very true that “all work and no play make Jack a dull boy.” Not only dull. Where happiness is absent - health is often absent too.
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