To say that my dad is a major baseball fan would be putting it lightly. And it took until kiddo #6, but my dad finally got himself a serious baseball player. Even though he's only 8, Owen is quite the little slugger. I went to a few of his games this year and it was so fun to see him get into "game mode."
Owen is really good at listening to his coach (who happened to be my dad this year) and making necessary adjustments. And like any other player, he dreams of hitting home runs. There was one game in particular when he was especially determined to hit the ball all the way into the outfield. My mom and I were sitting in the bleachers keeping score, and Owen ran to us from the dugout exclaiming, "This is it! I'm going to hit a home run this time!"
His age group plays with a machine pitcher and it had been having some problems that night. The pitches were unpredictable and the kiddos were having a hard time hitting the ball at all. Some balls came high over the batter's head, others rolled across the plate. Some came at a wicked speed and others seemed suspended in air.
But Owen was determined and he went right up to home plate and began his pre-batting ritual. He was even wearing his batting glove so he was ready to go. He got into the correct position and then came that first pitch. He had a great swing, but the machine sent him a crazy pitch and he missed.
Immediately he looked to my dad.
"It's okay. Scoot back a little bit." My dad helped him get into the correct position and then sent the next ball.
Another swing, and another miss.
And again, Owen's eyes went straight to my dad.
"It's okay, get ready for the next one."
Owen did that little hop he always does to get his feet in the right spots and got ready for the next ball.
And he missed for a third time.
Owen's age group is allowed 5 pitches, but I could tell he was getting nervous. He looked again to my dad, who helped him get his hands on the right spot on the bat.
The 4th pitch came and went. The pitches were all over the place and though he was close, Owen just couldn't hit the ball.
"Last pitch, buddy. Make it count!"
Owen did everything he could. He made sure he was standing correctly and that his grip on the bat was right. He looked at my dad one last time and then locked his eyes on the pitching machine.
The ball came and he swung.
But he still missed.
He walked back to the dugout and it was easy to see that he felt defeated. He had walked to that plate with such high hopes of hitting that home run. And not only did he not score a run, he didn't even hit the ball.
Sometimes I go into a situation ready to hit a home run. But I swing, and I miss. And so many times, I don't even hit the ball.
But the important thing is to do exactly what Owen did and immediately look to my Father.
Just like my dad did, Heavenly Father can tell us what adjustments we need to make in order to be prepared to hit the next ball. And even if we miss, He cares that we're trying.
He doesn't expect us to hit a home run every time. He doesn't even expect us to hit the ball every time. As long as we keep looking to Him, and make the adjustments He instructs us to, someday we're going to hit that home run.