Just today, I was reading some material about a monkey island in a zoo. This particular zoo-island is home to dozens upon dozens of monkeys that live on islands and as an exhibit, zoo-goers can take a boat tour around the islands to view the monkeys. Mostly, these monkeys live on their own, or in very small groups – and they watch one another from across a short canal that winds and whips between dozens of tiny islands..
What in the same heck does this have to do with YOU or softball you ask? (Bear with me for a minute)
Why do ALL of these monkeys just stay on their islands viewing one another from across short canals? Why do they sit at water’s edge, alone or in their very tiny group – yet never dare to explore the next island? What if the island across the way had a better banana tree, or cozier branches to sleep in? What if the ‘love of their monkey life’ was living 20 feet away on another island? Why would these monkeys choose to be STUCK where they are? Stuck? Wouldn’t it be worth the short swim across mild waters to find out what else is out there? Why do the monkeys just sit there and watch as boat after boat filled with humans float by staring at them?
The answer is simple. The monkeys DONT KNOW THAT THEY CAN SWIM.
Since they don’t know they can swim, they don’t try to breach the water and instead they just inhabit what is likely their comfort zone, but offers them no challenges, no opportunities, no options.
Consider this for a moment? Can you pitch? Can you catch? Do you ever get stuck in the thinking that you cannot hit well? Have you been playing outfield so long that you don’t think you would be able to play infield? Have you been a third baseman, or a catcher, or a 1st baseman for so many years, that crossing the water to try something new would make you edgy, uncomfortable.
In other words, have you too in some ways, forgotten that you can swim?
If you will recall our article about the things we learned from TEAM USA, one of the most important lessons was that you have to remain versatile. You have to keep testing your boundaries, pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone. You have to be flexible, keep learning, be a continuous student of the game. Not just in softball of course. But in life.
This means cross over to the next lunch table and make friends with that girl who seems interesting, but you haven’t bothered to talk to yet. Think about signing up for basketball this winter, even if you have never played. Learn something new this week. Step out of your comfort zone and explore. You are young! Too young to be pigeon-holed or defined by one specific thing.
Next practice, try to catch if you have never done it before, ask your coach if you could try playing at short stop a little, or go deep in the outfield and see if you can catch pop flies. Cross the water from being the shy girl to being a leader on your team.
In other words, open yourself up to all the wonderful and amazing opportunities that await you each and every single day – heck, every moment of your life! Every day, you wake up with new things to learn about yourself and about life, new things to discover. Many of these things may span nothing more than a 15 foot water filled canal.
But you have to realize – and give yourself permission to ‘SWIM’ first! Today, SIFG is here to remind you that whatever you want, whatever you dream, whatever you imagine can be YOURS. You don’t have to sit and wonder what’s waiting on the other side. YOU CAN SWIM. And whatever awaits you, may be life changing.
Unlike the monkeys who sit complacent, who have never been told they could swim – YOU CAN!