Brandi from the Dr. Pepper Little League girl’s softball team had a wicked fast pitch. I really mean it was birthed from an evil place. The fast pitch was evilly warped, an invader in the tranquil realm of my fourth grade life, and by the speed and animosity with which that pitch pistoned toward home plate, I just know the arm behind it must have been attached to someone mean, determined, and malicious. There was no messing with Brandi from Dr. Pepper. And when our game calendar showed Dr. Pepper was on deck as our adversary, I sadly donned my Sunny Joe’s blue uniform and prepared to march forth to my strike-out-doom.
It was a guaranteed swing and miss story with Brandi from Dr. Pepper.
The inspirational posters of my fourth grade world would have begged to differ. “Try, Try, and Try Again, and SUCCEED!” declared a fuzzy kitten hanging upside down from a branch.
Had that kitten faced Brenda from Dr. Pepper in the twilight summer night of softball doom, it would simply have released claws, mewled, and dropped halfway through the first “Tr-“.
I never wrote the SUCCEED part of the story against Brandi from Dr. Pepper. I did experience one moment of back-slapping glory when my first at-bat against Brandi resulted in my bat accidentally wandering in the path of Brandi’s maleficent bullet and actually knocking it off-course, something that could be called a hit in the game of softball, but was actually an unintentional mis-step for which I spent the rest of the season apologizing by swinging at nothing but air molecules.
There are times in life when we know we’re stepping up to a swing and miss story against a Brandi. Chances are we have teammates on the bench who are cheering us on. Some have also faced Brandi and defeat. Others are up next for their turn at inevitable failure. But for that one undecided moment as we see Brandi give a squint and squeeze the softball in her glove, we stand alone at the plate, wondering if this time, just this one time, we’ll try and Succeed.
Hope is more powerful than a whole pile of misses.
Hope keeps us on our feet when our mind has already given up and dropped from the branch.
Hope stretches us on a tension line, sometimes unkindly, sometimes ungently, but with more than enough power to stand us up straight, turn our face to the pitcher’s mound, and suggest that what might come next is worth one more swing.
Hope is what our mother has when she washes grass stains, dugout dirt, and Slushie spills from a softball uniform in preparation for the next at-bat with Brandi.
I was at my fourth-grade best the night Brandi’s fast pitch pinged off of my wandering bat. I’ve been at my second best ever since, attempting to regain the glory of that first swing. I can tell a story of a whole bunch of misses ever since that first hit. Fortunately, hope is no more deterred by a string of misses than by the menace of Brandi’s demonic spinning orb.
Hope’s poster reassures us it’s okay to “Try, Try and Try Again, and Miss!”
Because Hope will back us Try after Try after Try.
Because Hope won’t stop after the first Succeed. Hope is already focused on the next at-bat.
Because Hope will still be there with tensile certainty for the next Try.
I’m really stretching the rules of 5-Minute-Friday to an 11-Minute-Friday here, but I’m glad for the additional 6 minutes. I couldn’t miss out on the power of hope in this one! Grateful to the reading and writing community of Five Minute Fridays for the inspiring prompt.