My son’s coach shouts, “Protect, protect!”
Two strikes. The kid is sweating bullets. Doesn’t want to disappoint. Protect the plate, protect the team. “Protect, protect!” Widen the zone, shorten your swing. Make contact.
So easy in theory.
Not so much in practice.
I hear those words in the air all the time, not that it wasn’t maternally intrinsic before, but now there’s a voice that carries the word, the order. No longer predisposition, the instinct has wings and legs and a hundred eyes. It hums behind my ear, breathes down my neck.
So every day I widen the zone. Shorten my swing. Try to make contact.
I don’t have to hit it out of the park; I just don’t want to strike out.