This I Believe

Patrick - Okemos, Michigan
Entered on December 3, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: change, sports
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This I Believe

I believe in pitching. I believe in everything about pitching; the preparation, the pursuit of perfection, and the mental relief of throwing a ball as hard as you can into a box only seventeen inches wide. I have long pitched to my dad in the street, but it wasn’t until about six years ago that its importance in my life took on a new meaning.

At this time in my life, I was fighting one of the biggest issues in my life. My temper in school had gotten really bad. One day, my parents threatened to take me out of sports until I could learn to get it under control. The extra time I would have would allow me to see an anger management psychiatrist.

After hearing this, the rage and fury that built up nearly drove me off the edge. I immediately took off out the door and down the road to the school. On the way, I picked up my glove and a ball from my yard. This subconscious action would prove to be one of the best I have made in my entire life.

With my head pulsing from the flow of frustration through my body, I began throwing the ball against a brick wall meant for practicing tennis. Without thinking about it, I started my pitching motion and began throwing the ball harder than I ever had before. Pounding the wall, the ball started to leave streaks of leather. My frustration was built up during every wind-up, and then released like the fury of a lightning bolt through the ball and onto the wall.

While I was pelting the wall, my dad had snuck up on me and was very impressed with the speed with which I was throwing the ball. He asked if I would rather throw to a catcher and I agreed, thinking this would be the perfect time to get back at him. Throwing harder than I ever had before, I was sure that he would be caught off guard. He had brought his glove and I took no time in letting him get ready.

Thinking back on it, I wouldn’t be surprised if I threw over a hundred and fifty pitches that afternoon. Once my frustration and temper had subsided, my dad and I walked back to the house. On that walk, he talked and I listened. He discussed how much better I threw when I wasn’t worried about anything and letting all of my emotions out through the pitch.

As the conversation continued, it became clear that pitching was going to be my escape and a relief point for my temper. Every time I pitch, I think of the moments in the past that I would have exploded. This has helped me control my temper when the moments arise as well. I calm myself down by thinking about how I will use the anger of this moment to help my pitching.

The power of pitching has helped change my life around. I now have more control of myself than ever before. My pitching has also improved rapidly in the past four or five years. This has led me to an opportunity to go to Yale University, both to play baseball and be a student. Baseball and pitching has changed my life for the better. This I believe.