Actions vs. Words

      It’s the third day of the biggest baseball tournament I have ever participated in. It’s a hot humid summer day and the sun is blazing on my face. I’m standing in the outfield waiting for my chance to pitch. I’ve been waiting for three days now for my chance to pitch. We are losing badly. The coach’s son has been pitching the entire game and many of the games so far. He has just let up the 11th run. Maybe it’s time for him to take a break? At least there is a nice view of the beach from where I’m standing in left field. In the past three days during a game, I’ve only touched a ball 3 times. That seems like a bad average, but most of the batters have been walked due to our stellar pitching rotation. I’m tired, thirsty and a little discouraged that I haven’t yet been called to pitch. It was, after all, promised to me when I signed up for this and I believed that it would happen.

     Suddenly, I see my coach call a time out. The only thing going through my head is This could be my break. I try to make out the words going between the coach and his son. I see the coach’s hand slowly rise above his head and he starts to wave me over. Excitement rushes through my veins. I start to jog over to the pitchers mound. I only get to throw five warm-up pitches, but I don’t mind because this is what I have been waiting for. All of that time waiting in the outfield is finally going to pay off. The umpire calls, “Batter Up”

I take a deep breath and throw the first pitch.


I smiled inside. Second pitch.


I breathe. Third pitch, the ball connects with the bat, my glove instinctually goes up and the ball is in the glove. 1 out.  I look over and see the coach heading towards me. I automatically think that he wants to tell me I’m doing a good job. Instead I hear the words

“You’re doing fine, but don’t get ahead of yourself”

 Huh? I think, Why are you treating me like this? I don’t get it. Instead, I calmly say


and he walks away.  Second batter comes to the plate. First pitch is fouled off. Strike 1.  The third baseman throws the ball back to me. As soon as I catch the ball I remember there is a runner on second base. I now make it my goal to exterminate him and pick him off.  I set myself and very quickly step off the mound, do a 180 turn to second base and fire it to second. I may be small and I may skinny, but I’m fast. They didn’t expect it, but I did it. The umpire yells,


Whoa, nobody has done THAT in this tournament. The third out is a quick pop up to center field. I walk off the mound to the dug out. I feel good. I feel proud and accomplished.  My teammates acknowledge me. The coach ignores me, but this is common behavior between the two of us.

    Our half of the inning at bat was uneventful. Next half of the inning I start to the mound, but I hear the coach calling me back. Once again my brain says Huh?

“You’re going to left field this inning.” He states.

I’m confused, perplexed, bewildered, and stunned. I go to left field but my heart is no longer in the game.

    I’m trying to think rationally, but only emotions are coming.  I can’t think of any reasons to not put me back in as pitcher. I play and replay the events leading up to and during my inning on the mound. If I pay attention to his actions over the years that I have known him, his behavior is right in line. It’s when I listen to his words that I get confused. A promise is just a bunch of words strewn together, and it only becomes real once it happens. Just because someone promises to do something, doesn’t mean they will do it. Obviously sometimes people favor people closer to them over someone they don’t know well or don’t want to try to get to know. The truth lies in the actions of people.