Four months. For four very long painful months I’ve been on the DL. The Disabled List. I was out of the game. The game of life. That’s right. I’m no friggin’ baseball player. But I was a pretty good shortstop as a kid for the record. No, I’m not talking baseball here. Even though I was injured and taken away from the game I love the most. But I’m good with analogies, metaphors, similes and I love sports so work with me here, ok people? I was mentally, physically and emotionally injured and I was no longer myself. I couldn’t perform at the high level I expect of myself. I’m not going to lie. I’m a man who can admit when he is hurting. I was hurt and I took myself out of the game of life. I swallowed my fucking pride. The pride that has guided me so far in life and I said to myself “I need to stop playing. I need to get out of the game and heal up.”
My mind was treated. My body was treated. My heart was treated. Then it was time for a little rehab. The funny thing about working on yourself is that you really are the only person that can make yourself get better. All the trainers (friends) and teammates (family) can give you all the tips, remedies and helping hands possible but at the beginning of the day it is up to you to get the fuck up and make your damn comeback. Even before the injury I was playing the game as a different player. I was a man no longer in his early rookie years but definitely not in the twilight of his career. I’ve won many games. Many individual titles. MVP a few times. Won over the hearts of many fans by being the underdog who changed the game for so long. But then I focused on what I thought at the time was my championship. My trophy. I got comfortable in my ways and lost the hunger I had to play the game like I used to because I thought I finally won the big one. I thought I finally had what I always wanted. But I was wrong. So wrong that I got hurt. I lost focus, became weak and got taken out. On the road to recovery you spend a lot of time analyzing how you played the game and why you lost instead of focusing on how you used to find a way to win all the time. How to be a great player again. After rehab I played a few games in the minors just to get my swing back. I learned to not go after my favorite pitch anymore. I learned how to be patient with the bat. I learned how to hit the slider. I learned how to play the game differently. Better. I learned that I no longer wanted to sit on the bench and watch the game get played without me. I got hungry again. I wanted my spot back. My spot in the majors. My spot in the lineup. My spot in life that took me so long to get. There is no better player than me when my mind, body and heart are all on the same page. There is no better man than me when I’m focused and determined to get what I want.
I just walked from the on-deck circle to the plate. Banged the dirt out of my cleats with the bat. I’m back in the fucking majors baby. A thousand things are moving around in my head at once as I stare down the pitcher. Am I ready? Can I hit like I used to? Can I run the bases as fast as I once did? Can I play the game smarter instead of harder at my age? I have to make sure I don’t look back. All the stats up until this moment don’t mean a fucking thing. I need to win again. I need to win it all this time. NOTHING and NO ONE will distract me this time. Stay healthy this time. Hit the ball more this time. Cross home plate more this time. Do what you do best…win. No matter what…win. And without realizing it I’m watching the ball clear the Green Monster. I’m fucking back.
Until next time. Always take it there.