What My Dad and Baseball Taught Me About Writing

Night has fallen and bright lights illuminate the field before me. Beyond them, the dark of night. The stands are filled with family, friends and fans cheering the two crosstown rivals facing off in the season finale.

I stand in the on-deck circle as the importance of the upcoming inning flashes through my head.

It’s the bottom of the last inning and we’re trailing by one run. This is our last chance. We need two runs or game over.

Standing on the mound to close out the game is a guy whose nickname is “Bear.” Whether the nickname stood for his physical stature or his fastball was unclear. I knew, though, that I’d played against him for years and fallen short every time.

At 18 there’s little that equals the pressure of athletic competition. Your world is dominated by success or failure in last night’s game.

As I wait for my at-bat, I battle my fears.

“Don’t strike out.” “It’s on me.”

As I walk to the batter’s box I hear a familiar voice. I’ve always been able to hear his voice over the dull roar of the crowd.

For the first 10 years of my youth baseball career, Dad was my coach right on the field. Since then, he coaches from the sideline. Never overbearing, always coaching.

Three words of encouragement would inevitably sound out.

Tonight his words echo in my head again:

“Trust your hands!”

In short, Dad was saying, “You’ve lived your life for this moment. You’ve put in the work. The countless hours taking batting practice, every game you’ve played has prepared you for this. Be confident and trust your hands.”

I kick my back foot into the clay of the box and cast my gaze at the pitcher. We lock eyes and it seems as if time slows down.

Dad is right; it is time. This is my moment. All of my hard work has led me to this.

With the pitch on the way, I trust my hands.

_________________

It’s 14 years later and the opponents have changed, but the feeling is the same.

In a way, I’m still at bat, and the pitcher is still a bear.

Now my opponent is a blank page.

It stares at me, having conquered me at times in the past. But not anymore.

Those same three words echo from my past into this moment. I can almost hear my Dad’s voice calling them out to me from somewhere nearby.

My hands guide the pen as I write.

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Six months ago, I decided to start this blog. Just this week, the website surpassed 20,000 views.

I sat there in the moment, but it was hard to really grasp the reality of 20,000 views. I will filled with gratitude for the milestone, but I knew I couldn’t linger.

It was words from my uncle this week that put it into perspective for me.

My uncle simply said, “Love you, nephew. Keep writing; let God guide the pen.”            (tweet to share)

My fear still occasionally gets in my head, just like the old days.

“Don’t strike out. Don’t let the team down. It’s on me.’’

However, I’m reminded of the book of Romans where the Apostle Paul writes:

“You did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave to fear…if God is for us, who can be against us?”   Romans 8:15,31

Today, I channel my Dad and my uncle and the confidence I have in the Spirit of God.

I write. I trust my hands.  Every step of the way.

MH

Do you battle fear? What is something you do to build confidence? Let us know below.

Thank you for stopping by for this Seeking Saturday: a reflection on the week and an encouragement to recharge by seeking wisdom through the lens of His Word.

If you would like to receive these posts every Saturday, please enter your email address at the top of this page or email me at matt@mattham.com

Richly!

Matt

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  • Tammy Shaw

    Love this Matt and I will remember this phrase. Trust your hands. I will remind others as well that are struggling with every type of situation you can imagine! Thank you so much .

    • Great Tammy! It’s a huge confidence builder isn’t it!?

  • Rod

    That is a really good piece of writing. Loved the way you linked the past & current scenario’s together. Shared it on Facebook too. Keep ’em coming Matt. Ripper blog (Aussie for excellent)

  • Carolyn Bost

    Hey Matt,
    You are doing a great job of writing. I wanted to clarify what I think I heard you uncle saying, trust HIS hands. Isn’t it great to know that even when we haven’t got a clue, and we don’t understand we know we can trust His hands? He is the one guiding us. Even if we strike out He can fix that too by His grace. I’m glad it isn’t only up to us. Keep up the encouragement!

    • Carolyn,
      Thank you so much and you’re absolutely right. Dad taught me that when I put in the work and had faith, I could trust my hands. My uncle reminded me, the same concept applies today, but I must first make sure I put in the work. Romans 8 says those that live in accordance with the Spirit has their minds set on what the Spirit desires! What a refreshing reminder.

      Thank you so much for YOUR encouragement!

  • Thank you. I so needed to read this tonight.

  • Thanks again Matt for letting God guide your pen. The Father spoke powerfully through your words & His words from Romans.

  • Al Sheneman

    If we allow Him, our God will reign in every aspect of our lives. Even when we have fears that Satan would try to use to cripple us, Jesus says I am your HOPE and I am on the way. Keep looking up.

    • It’s hard to see something that’s above you when you’re always looking down! ROLL ON!