Sometimes I feel like my first book should be about the people in my life that have changed me. In good ways and bad my travels have allowed me to have conversations that sometimes simplify, change, validate or tilt my way of thinking. One of those amazing people is my friend Danica. ‘Neeks (as I call her) is that visionary- hard hitting business women I have always dreamt of being. She has a presence (and beauty) that can make a room (or baseball field) stand still and want to do their very best at the same time. She has the ability to give criticism, compliments, feedback and amazing advice in every and any moment. ‘Neeks is a decision maker, a leader, a changer and a believer. I don’t ever leave a conversation with her without feeling inspired, changed or like something inside me has been shifted. When she asked me to play on our company softball team this summer I remember I felt like I had been nominated for an Academy Award…you know that feeling, when someone you really admire gives you a speck of responsibility, like a test to see if you can live up to the standards they’ve set in their mind for you (or they just needed another girl.. it is company softball after all). I’m not quite sure if she ever realized what it meant that she asked…or that I said yes not realizing I would have to go back to the only position that scares the crap out of me (3rd base, and it only scares me because the only time in my short life I have had to have mouth surgery- 8 needles of freezing fluid- is when I was hit in the mouth with a baseball and lost my front tooth…which ironically only made me fit in more in my hometown- love you Georgetown). Even more stressful (in my mind) was that I would be playing right next to her. Just to give you a little background Danica is one of Australia’s (most competitive) well rounded softball players, she is still a powerhouse on the field and still makes you wonder that if she rang Team Australia they would be begging her to come back and take a starting position. With more awards and accolades then I will ever know, she’s one of those people that you thank God is on your team let alone standing right beside you. There was a time in my life that i thought that my heart had been removed and somehow a softball had taken its place…I lived and breathed the sport, it was in my blood, it carried me through my post secondary education and until recently it was one of only a few things that reminded me of the competitive gene that fueled the early morning practices and the weekend tournaments for a short 17 years.
For most of the season I had done the unthinkable. I had psyched myself out of playing next to ‘Neeks. I created empty expectations, false pressure and amped myself so much that every time a ball was hit to me my entire arm tensed up like I was flexing for the world to see my (almost) Kelly Ripa arms. Poor Jay-Z (unfortunately and fortunately not actually Jay-Z) our first baseman…I must have thrown every other ball at his feet or about a meter and half to his left or right. And every time I did a picture of my father putting his hands in face would appear, or ‘Neeks would fall silent. For those of you still with me you have finally made it to the climax (twss). In the 2nd inning of last night’s game I dropped the story. I realized that this nervousness/ insecure attitude I associated with hopping on the field beside a person I admire, love and respect was replacing my love for the sport. I played baseball for fun last night and still managed to feel competitive again. I stopped setting an imaginary standard and played baseball because I love it. I’ve always loved it. The pressure that I had carried from childhood all the way up through my teenage years until now seemed to melt away through my cleats. I participated in life last nice not wondering or caring what people thought. I began to realize what make ‘Neeks so successful and such a beautiful person. She listens to her voice, she carefully combines logic and her own opinion and subtracts any question that she is incorrect. She says, does and feels the right/best thing in that moment…sometimes so quickly that I haven’t even drawn a conclusion and she’s already half way through another perfctly worded gem of advice that makes me feel so blessed to know her ever second I’m near her.
So this post is for ‘Neeks. For all the conversation behind West 4th, in my truck and in the “dug out”. So glad to have you in my life for more reasons then I’ll ever be be able to put into words.