Moments later, Todd’s dad came into the room and sat on the corner of the bed. Without saying a word, he placed his hand on Todd’s shoulder and waited for the tears borne of weeks of frustration, disappointment, and sadness to subside.
In time, they did, and Todd slowly lifted his head off of his pillow. He told his dad that he just couldn’t do it, that no matter how hard he tried, he just couldn’t hit live pitching and he wasn’t about to continue to endure the embarrassment and ridicule that accompanied his inability to hit.
His dad paused, and then, much to Todd’s surprise told him that he understood Todd’s decision. “Hitting is tough,” he explained. “In fact,” he said, “it may be the most difficult thing to do in all of sports. Did you know that a hitter has only a fraction of a second to swing at and hit a 90 mph fastball thrown from a major league pitcher’s mound if he wants to hit it in fair territory. If he starts his swing just .02 seconds late, he will miss the ball completely!”
“When you think about it,” Todd’s dad continued, “it’s a wonder anyone can hit a baseball, let alone one thrown by an 11- or 12-year-old pitcher, who has little, if any, control over where the ball is going. Certainly, no one – not your mom and I, not your coaches, and not your teammates – will blame you for giving up.”
“But,” he hurriedly added, “you’re not going to quit in the middle of the season. Your coach made it clear at the beginning of the season that kid-pitch was part of the deal and you made a commitment to him and your teammates. So, as hard as it may be for you, whether you choose to ever play baseball again or not, you’re going to finish the year.”