All the youth helmets were too small for my oversized head, so I had to borrow a coach's helmet before meekly trudging out to the plate. I failed to hit the ball even once during any of my dozens of at-bats.
The only play I was ever involved in was when a ball was hit into the air, struck me in the head while I attempted to catch it, and bounced into the glove of my teammate. See, I told you. I was just terrible.
Despite the bribe of a post-game soda with the team, I told my parents at the ripe old age of 10 that my career in baseball was over.
"I guess I'm just not an athlete" I thought.
And with that, I said farewell to the dream of gracing the front of a Wheaties box. Sports were just not for me.
It took me almost 15 years to realize that I was actually wrong about this.
Nope, I didn't start playing Little League as a guy in my 20s. What I realized was that we are all good at some type of sport or activity. I WAS an athlete, I just needed to find the right sport.
I first stumbled upon this realization when I took up weight lifting in my mid-20s and became pretty good at it. Later when I was introduced to hiking, and found I could trek for miles, my sore ego from playing "left out" didn't hurt so much. Now as a runner, I am a fully-converted evangelist for this philosophy.
Every person has a sport or activity that they can excel at. You just need to find it!
I took the race on a day's notice, and my body was still recovering from a fast and hard 6.3 mile run from the night before. Despite this, I put one foot in front of the other and pushed through 2,000+ ft of elevation gain.
To my surprise, I not only finished the race, but captured 5th out of 28 runners! This is the first time I've ever finished a race near the top! Despite the mud and tough descents, I felt amazing at the end of the race!
While I may live my whole without hitting a pitch thrown in baseball, I'm ok with that. I'll just keep running around in the woods, smiling and having fun.
As the familiar bumper sticker reads "Real athletes run, others just play games". For me, that sounds great.