Curveballs

I promise you this will not be one of those posts that will employ a trite, overused metaphor for life.

In the next breath, I promise you this post will be about fielding curveballs in life.

Before you groan and call me a liar, know there’s no better way to describe the things that come at us in life that force us to adjust our approach. Beyond the term “curveball,” I’ll leave the tired baseball metaphors to less discerning writers. Promise.

Many moons ago, my husband and I were on our way to the hospital, unexpectedly. After what was supposed to be a routine check-in during my last month of pregnancy, the doctor said he wanted to induce. He told me to pack a bag and head to the hospital.

My husband worked in the financial markets so you’d think he would be used to sudden changes in plan, but this one flustered him. He headed home from downtown Chicago, we got my eldest to his best friend’s house for an impromptu sleepover, and away we went. Until we didn’t.

Roughly halfway to the hospital, we stopped at a red light. And then—thunk—we were both jilted a bit by a car that rear-ended us. We stared at each other for a few seconds and then he said, “You’ve got to be f#*#*ing kidding me.” I burst out laughing.

I won’t bore you with the details (all three of us were fine, including the tiny one of us who had yet to make his official entrance into the world). However, our reactions to this curveball were so very different. I often tell my sons to pay attention to girls’ reactions to unexpected (and less than pleasant) events. They can tell you more about character in just a few seconds than you can learn in months of dating.

I believe the Universe has a sense of humor, you see. It never lets us take ourselves too seriously and when we do, it sets us straight.

Curveballs don’t have to be big events. My neighbor Wayne, for instance, recently purchased his first mobile phone. A retired man of a certain age, he is venturing into completely foreign territory here. I see him quite often lately, for this very reason.

I pull into my garage after taking my dog to the vet and there he is, standing next to my car within seconds. “How do I turn this thing on?” he asks.

A day later, he has moved on: “How do I answer the phone if it rings?” I try to explain it to him but he is confused so I call him so he can see how simple it is to answer. He seems relieved. The tribulations aren’t over by a long shot, though. I’ve seen him walking around his backyard, holding his phone and shouting, “I don’t understand why you can’t hear me. I can hear you just fine.”

I’m not sure what today’s question will be but when he finally ventures into internet territory, I have a feeling I should clear my calendar. Wink wink.

Wayne’s curveball may seem minute compared to what many of us are facing right now but to him, it’s pretty big. It’s the difference between being connected with his world and not. It’s all relative.

Given my druthers, I think I’d choose a life where every pitch was straight on (and here I go, breaking my promise about baseball metaphors). I want a fair pitch, one I can hit so I can run the bases in order. Instead, the curveballs in my life have either beaned me on the head or had me running willy nilly from home base to the outfield, the parking lot, and then back again to try for a homerun. Somewhere in there, I may or may not have hit the snack bar. You get the picture, right? Things haven’t quite gone as planned.

What I tell myself I believe is that God has bigger things in store for me than I could imagine. That running the bases in order is something anyone can do. That the adventure might lie, for me, out there in left field. And that, left to my own devices following the path everyone else takes in a game, I’d have missed the scenic route.

It certainly has been interesting. That I can say. I can also say that I have absolutely no idea of what happens next in this particular game of life. There are days I just want to sit in the bleachers and soak in the sun.

Whatever your curveballs are in life right now, you’re not alone. I get it. Sometimes the ump makes some pretty crappy calls. Sometimes you get beaned right on the head and nobody cries foul.

But I do think continuing to play the game beats becoming a spectator. How about you?

And now I’ll stop with the baseball bit for fear I’ve become a “less discerning” writer. I’ll let you be the judge.

42 Comments Add yours

  1. Love this post… nice metaphor to explain how we are indeed guided through life! So we’d better pay attention and allow ourselves to be flexible! Much love ❤️

    1. candidkay says:

      Right? Flexible has never failed me.

  2. Luanne says:

    I do like to prepare, sometimes even overprepare, ahead of time so that the way is as smooth as possible. That said, when something unexpected happens I drop everything and go with it, but not always without some griping!!! along the way hahaha.

    1. candidkay says:

      Totally understandable! And kudos to you for sticking with it!

  3. Laurie Stone says:

    Kristine, Looking back, most of life’s curveballs taught me something. I didn’t like them at the time, and ranted and railed, but in most cases something was learned. Maybe they come for a reason.

    1. candidkay says:

      Oh, I couldn’t agree more, Laurie! They are headed in our direction to help us grow, change and learn in ways we need. I just keep whispering to the Universe that I’m now completely content to do my learning via joy instead of the hard stuff:).

  4. Inkplume says:

    You’re so right – adaptability and a sense of humour will make it so much more fun to deal with those curveballs!

    1. candidkay says:

      Easier to say than to do, right?😉

  5. Reading your post I was just thinking that there are a number of baseball references we use here even though we don’t play baseball and I haven’t got a clue what they mean on the baseball field – I know what curveball and left field mean as metaphors but not what they actually are (although I think you pretty much explained curveball in the post)! I do believe we end up where we’re meant to be, despite the meanders and curveballs on the way 🙂

    1. candidkay says:

      Isn’t it funny that baseball isn’t a sport there and yet the metaphors have made their way across the pond? I’m glad you were able to understand the post and that it resonated with you! And I do like to believe that we all end up where we are supposed to be.

  6. Masha says:

    LOL I needed a good laugh out loud right now, thanks Kay, and along with the laughter your message here is so true,
    I believe that change is the name of the game of my life, and actually when I take a look at the sudden or not sudden changes now, I can see how each one was a piece in the puzzle and each one fits in perfect and that without it, I wouldn’t be where I am now. thank you for a most delightful LOL read. xo

    1. candidkay says:

      Hindsight really is 20/20, isn’t it, Masha? I do many times wish for the same clarity when I’m facing a change, though. Sometimes feels like jumping off a cliff. I wrote about growing wings on the downdraft in a post a few years back. I think so many of have to learn to do that!

      1. Masha says:

        I meant to say that it was your neighbor with the phone that gave me a big laugh, it’s relatable LOL

  7. Interesting post. I have a very hard time with sudden changes in plans and unexpected developments… Most of the time I try to remain a spectator, although I’m forced to play more often than I can cope with at times.

    1. candidkay says:

      Isn’t it funny how life more often than not serves up on a platter the very things that make us uncomfortable? Almost as if there was a master lesson plan:). One we can’t avoid as much as we sometimes try!

  8. Ally Bean says:

    The thing about a baseball metaphor is that when I think of baseball my mind goes first to a Bam-Bam bat from the Flintstones cartoons. Then I remember there are professional baseball players, so the metaphor is probably more serious than I initially think it is. So in a way all baseball metaphors are a curve ball to me.

    1. candidkay says:

      As a fellow fan back in the day of The Flintstones, love this memory:).

  9. markbialczak says:

    You absolutely owned this metaphor, Kay. Yes, life rarely serves us the fastball down the middle. Happy spring to you. Happy Opening Day here for our Triple A squad, and I’m taking that road. Keep chasing those pop flies to all fields, my friend. They keep ending up in your mitt …

    1. candidkay says:

      I knew you’d get this metaphor, Mark! And I know how you love a good opening day. Wishing you hotdogs and beer to your heart’s content! ⚾️🧢

  10. Roy McCarthy says:

    Love this. Coincidentally I just finished reading another reflective blog post by an American blogger https://chattykerry.wordpress.com/2022/04/04/the-seventh-decade/ Loving the baseball metaphor. I suppose, over here, cricket would be the equivalent and it also has many variants on the bowler’s standard delivery – those which cannot be appreciated unless you are closely involved. To the uninitiated, hours may pass with apparently nothing much happening in the game, but in actuality there are many plots and sub-plots taking place out there as both teams try to manoeuvre an advantage. Like life indeed. Nothing however quite like Newbolt’s poem ‘Vitai Lampada’ which likens the young lad shaping up to save his team on the cricket field to the young soldier rallying his colleagues in the midst of a bloody battle. Oh, and ‘druthers’ I needed to look up – that word has yet to sail the Atlantic eastwards 🙂

    1. candidkay says:

      In my 20s, I lived near a park where a group of men would get together on Sunday mornings to play cricket. Fascinating to watch but I really never quite knew what was going on. Did remind me a little bit of baseball :-). The word nerd in me loves that you learned a new word in this post. Druthers is just a great word😀.

  11. Karen Lang says:

    Adaptability is our greatest strength! And since Covid began we have learned a lot more about curveballs/bench sitting and how to play the game on a whole new level! Great post 👏👏

    1. candidkay says:

      Thanks, Karen! I do agree that Covid has been a learning experience on a massive scale. Rare that we’d have one that was so global.

  12. srbottch says:

    Kristine, in Life as in baseball, the curve balls will often get you down , but when you catch it right and hit it out of the park, that’s when you have your moments in the sun, your ‘home run’. You always keep coming back. You’re a pro and something tells me you can hit the curves as well as the fast ball down the middle.

    1. candidkay says:

      Aw, what a lovely thing to say☺️. Thank you! I’m trying. I’m certainly trying.

      1. srbottch says:

        Have a great day, Kristine.

      2. srbottch says:

        Kristine, I recently finished reading ‘Impossible First’. Now, when I’m facing a difficult situation, I think of Colin O’Brady and his solitary, unassisted walk across Antarctica and use it as motivation to ‘keep on truckin’ (an Army saying). If you like a good adventure story with a little romance, give it a try.

      3. candidkay says:

        I will have to check it out! Thanks for the rec:).

  13. Dale says:

    I have to agree with John! I know curveballs. Had more than a few come my way (and rather recently, as you know!) However, while I may not be able to run to the next base, right now (get out of breath too easily) I am definitely playing. I could never be one who is in the bleachers watching all the others…
    Fabulous post, Kristine!

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you, Dale! Take it easy and stay well. I found alcohol and sugar would set me back—so watch those. Hugs to you!

      1. Dale says:

        My pleasure.
        Alcohol is only on date night but the craving for sugar is ridiculous! I’ve mostly resisted but not always..

  14. If someone told you that your friends were preparing a surprise birthday party for you…it would take the ‘surprise’ right out of it and deaden the effect of what was to come. Life is the same, if we don’t get those ‘bean balls’ their effects are diminished accordingly. And just to show ‘surprise’s’ power…imagine knowing beforehand who you were going to fall in love with. Loses its impact considerably…especially as we judge so easily ‘beforehand’ on nearly everything 😀 ❤️ 🙏🏽 🦋

    1. candidkay says:

      I do so love a surprise party, Mark😊! A lovely way to think about it.

      1. Yayyy! I was allowed in, surprise, surprise!😂 🤣

      2. candidkay says:

        Will the miracles never cease?!😉

  15. I’ve spent much of my life on the bench by choice; avoiding or complaining about the curveballs. More recently, I’ve learned to embrace them. Batter up! 😋

    1. candidkay says:

      Good for you, Brad! Your move would be a great example of this, no? You’re using it as a bridge to whatever comes next–and you’re ready.

  16. willedare says:

    I love this insight: “I often tell my sons to pay attention to girls’ reactions to unexpected (and less than pleasant) events. They can tell you more about character in just a few seconds than you can learn in months of dating.” I will remember this the next time (and the time after that, and the time after that..,) life throws me a curveball!

    1. candidkay says:

      My father always told me to watch out for how men dealt with lost luggage and rainy days :-). I should’ve listened better!

  17. Sticking with the baseball metaphor ( you started it) as I sit on third base hoping to be able to walk to home I am always amazed at how people react negatively to curveballs. I’m not sure whether they haven’t lived enough or life has somehow beaten them. These reactions are everywhere and most cause me to wonder. Seems to me people ought to look at a situation from someone else’s point of view.It might be a learning opportunity. Super post, Kristine.

    1. candidkay says:

      Touche, sir:). I did indeed throw the first pitch so I may as well play ball. (See? Now I seemingly can’t stop. Look what you’ve done.) Thank you for the kind words–and the wisdom. I was one of those people who didn’t like curveballs and have had to learn to adapt over time. Adapting wasn’t easy but it’s oh so essential . . .

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