Today is my favorite day of the year. Not because it’s Valentine’s Day, but because it is the day pitchers and catchers report to spring training. It is my anticipation that keeps me going through the winter and I literally count down until today comes. I woke up this morning and immediately felt like a kid at Christmas, knowing the day was finally here. I know that sounds absurd to many of you reading this, but from the time I was young, my love of baseball would never waver. It is a day for all baseball players across the country to tie up the cleats, break in the gloves, and put in the hard work it will take to succeed. That’s exciting.
I remember when I was young, my mom used to decorate my bathroom, put red streamers and heart decorations on my door when I was sleeping and leave a nice card for me on the kitchen table for Valentine’s Day. I always thought that was sweet. She made me remember all the ways she loves me. And it was always a few weeks before high school ball would start. I was always excited during those few weeks, counting down the days until I was feeling the dirt under my cleats.
This time of year has always been about anticipation. Living in the moment, but wanting so badly to be in another one a few weeks ahead. I find that happens often, I work so hard to be present, in everything I do, but I find myself peeking at the gifts before it’s time. I find myself not wanting to wait for the good stuff.
I was in the Akron airport yesterday, on my way back from a weekend session with the Maddogs of Ohio, a softball travel organization that has been around since 1990. They were awesome. I loved meeting them and spent time in the “Billy Dome” which is a pole barn with dirt inside. How cool that they can play in dirt all year round, snow on the ground and all. I was jealous. Just walking in there felt good. It was exciting to think that a few short weeks and I will be standing on a field in Florida with UC softball, beginning our season.
The anticipation is killing me. However, one thing that I am working really hard on is to love February 15th just as much. I want to love the day for itself. Not for anticipating what is coming. I often overlook today, Valentine’s Day, because I am too close to spring and am really just thinking about all that lies ahead. But today was a really good day. I enjoyed the moments I spent doing what I had to do TODAY, and not really looking too far ahead. I was present today, and I enjoyed every minute of it.
Pitchers and catchers have a long spring training ahead before they start the real thing. The days are long, the work is hard, but that part of the journey is just as good. The reward we get for the here and now is the fact that we can actually take a minute and enjoy all of it, not just the idea that the payoff is ahead. What if we actually enjoyed the work today? Reminds me a little bit of process vs. outcome. I think the whole is the sum of its parts. I can certainly be excited for opening day, but I think I am learning to love the now.
Happy Valentine’s Day. Happy Opening Day of Spring Training…