This I Believe

Jack - Albany, Georgia
Entered on May 8, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: family, sports
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This I Believe

I believe in keep my eye on the ball. While playing baseball throughout my teens and earlier years, Dad had always told me to “keep my eye on the ball.” But, after a recent event in my life, the phrase applies more to my life in general than it does to baseball. As of last year, I was in more trouble than most sixteen-year-old kids had known to be possible. I had lost my driver’s license, had a police record, was almost kicked out of school, and was kicked out of my house. But, during the night that I slept in the back of my neighbor’s yard, I had a reckoning with myself about life. I thought about the things I loved in my life, and the things I hated in my life. Listing the things I loved was easy; baseball, friends, and family. Listing the things I hated was even easier; police, school, and trouble. The next morning, after waking up to dogs licking my face, I found the courage to go back home; to face my problems like I should have at the start.

My mom and I had a serious daylong heart-to-heart discussion about the problems in my life. As I had known for a while, the problems were all brought on by myself. I had once been a good schoolboy, but dumb decisions had brought me down on myself.

But, speaking with my Dad when he got home from work was much simpler. Dad and I connected on a much different level than Mom. Mom’s rationale is based on logic. But, Dad and I connected with baseball. We spoke for probably less than five minutes about the troubles of my life. And mostly, we didn’t even talk about my life, just baseball. In the conversation, he reminded me about when I was young and he would pitch to me. If I missed a few pitches in a row, he would say “keep your eye on the ball.” On maybe half of the pitches he threw, I wasn’t watching the ball, but the other half, I wasn’t concentrating on baseball. But, I knew that phrase meant concentrate on the next pitch. He reminded me about him sitting right behind home plate every game, so he could say “ keep your eye on the ball” to me before every at-bat.

But that day talking to him on our back porch, when he said “keep your eye on the ball,” I knew he wasn’t talking about baseball.