For about the millionth time in my life, I stood out on the pitcher’s mound with the ball in my hand.
The game of baseball had brought much happiness to my life but had also given me my fair share of mentally brutal experiences.
This was my first time pitching at the collegiate level and my nerves were running high. The conditions weren’t ideal as it was about forty-three degrees and I had thrown an ample amount the days leading to the game. Despite the circumstances, I told myself I would be just fine.
I was very wrong.
I stood alone on the mound as the game beat the shit out of me. A few close calls that fell the other way, a couple walks, and a handful of hits that the dudes on the other team crushed to the outfield. I failed to record an out as my first appearance had spiraled out of control. This was far from how I imagined it, but that’s life, right?
I stood alone as I thought about the whole situation. I thought of a calmer place that happened to be a memory from a warm summer night that was full of laughter with my girlfriend, but it didn’t change the hell I had created. My coach slowly walked out to the mound to pull my ineffective ass from the game and I was engulfed by the feeling of shame.
I stood alone as I walked off and thought about my Dad, who traveled four hours to see me pitch. I was ashamed of my performance and sat on the wood bench with my head staring at the concrete. The game ended in defeat and the lengthy bus ride home consisted of mentally abusing myself.
We arrived back to school late in the night and I slowly walked back to my apartment. Although I knew this feeling would drag on, I would have to move on with my life and that was just a fact. As I laid in bed that night, I realized that I never stand alone.
Life is full of peaks and valleys for everyone that lives. The people that truly care about me don’t care if my ERA was infinity, which it was and yes I cringe every time I think about it. Following this bump in the road, I began to practice a positive attitude and even laughing about the situation with others.
Failure is impossible to escape but it is within failure that we are found. I was never alone and never will be. People fail today and people will absolutely fail tomorrow. Experiences shape us into who we are and I have no problem sharing my failures with the world. Life happens and it is our job to keep a positive attitude to grow as individuals. Struggle is real, but so is the strength to improve upon it.
Originally published at medium.com