Yesterday, Briggs and I were playing Wiffle Ball in our side-yard. He was the batter, I was the pitcher, and the frustration was mounting.
“I can’t hit it!” He snarled.
“You could,” I explained, “if you squared your feet and held the bat the right way.”
He reluctantly allowed me to demonstrate and then quickly mimicked my stance and hold.
He connected with ease and the ball sailed straight over the prickly bushes missing the neighbors’ yard by mere inches.
I smiled at him, he smiled back and then asked, “Mom did you use to play baseball or something?”
I told him I played a lot of softball as a kid – even earned a bunch of trophies.
“Did you get the most home runs?”
I confessed that I didn’t. I told him I wasn’t the top scorer, fastest runner, most accurate pitcher, or even the best hitter.
“Then, what were you the best at?” He wondered aloud.
“Every year I got a trophy for being the Best Hustler.”
“What does that mean?”
“It means that I was the hardest worker. No one could out work me.”
“Got it,” Briggs said.
Then he and I went back to our game until he finally did smack one clear over the neighbors’ fence and the game was called.
On our way back in I started gently and quietly heckling myself.
Yup, never MVP. Never top scorer or earner. Never the smartest or fastest, but hardest worker. You sure as hell clinched that one. Hardest worker? Who the hell wants to work the hardest? That sounds awful.
Truth is the heckling was pretty consistent this past week. My own personal peanut gallery psyched me out of writing, yoga, and clean eating. Kept me from connecting with my best ideas and recognizing my greatest gifts. Leaving a perfect opportunity for Depression to run up the score and Anxiety to speed up the clock.
But, damn it, nothing works better for a Hustler than being the underdog.
So, yeah, last week I spent a lot of time feeling tired, sad, and scared – but, turns out I can get hit by a pitch and still remember how to step back, take a breath, and keep swinging.
I’m a Hustler baby.