Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Missing Outs

Tonight's game had the best play of the season. Our guys up by three runs against one of the two best teams in the league, bottom of the last inning, two outs, tying runner at the plate, our best pitcher on the mound. The batter drives a ball to the fence, the right fielder runs it down, wheels and throws it to Coach P.'s kid at cutoff, who throws it to the catcher in time to make a tag at the plate. We win and the kids pile off the bench, screaming with excitement.

That's what I'm told, at least. I didn't see it. I was at a meeting instead, a board on which I serve. I heard about the play from my youngest, from my Lovely Bride, from Coach P. who called after everyone else was in bed because he was still too jazzed up to sleep.

I used to have a job that I hated. Intellectually, I knew I hated it. In my heart, I knew I hated it. Still, in that part of myself that makes decisions, I didn't hate it enough to quit.

Then I got tickets to a playoff game for the team I'd been following for years, one I'd never seen in the post-season. Two tickets, just enough for me and my oldest. My other kids were too young to care. What I had in my hand were tickets to a lifelong dream.

The day before the game, a client called and asked me to come to a meeting. I liked this client, but I knew my presence wouldn't add anything. I tried to finesse it, tried to beg off, finally straight out asked if I could skip it, but the client insisted. I went to the meeting, sat through hours of discussion that didn't pertain to me, gave my thirty second spiel, and drove home embittered. A while later I quit, because I knew the job would always require these kinds of sacrifices, and there are only so many times you can take your son to see a playoff game.

So tonight I was disappointed to miss the play of the season, but I wasn't bitter. I'm on this board because it's work that has to be done and someone has to do it. My parents believed in volunteering and I hope my kids do too someday. The world doesn't run itself.

Tonight, the board went through its agenda. Much of it was mundane but necessary, the procedural niceties that don't seem important until there's a problem. There was a part of me that wanted to hurry things along, get out of there in time to see the end of the baseball game, but the board's work counts as much as my work as a coach, and I bit my tongue and asked questions and tried to help make good decisions.

When I got home, I
heard about the play from my youngest, from my Lovely Bride, from Coach P.

I wish I'd seen it, but I'm glad I didn't.


Anonymous said...

Nice post.

Elmo said...

You should have come up with an excuse like..."my grandmother is dieing and this is the last time I'll ever get to see her." Then go to the playoff game with your son.