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My Father's Words: A Lesson About Baseball and Life

Updated on August 21, 2013
Outside of Safeco Field
Outside of Safeco Field | Source
My dad at work.
My dad at work. | Source
Dad at the beach.
Dad at the beach. | Source
High school baseball player
High school baseball player | Source

I recall when I was a little tyke of five or six. My dad introduced me to my first baseball glove and ball and he took me out on the front lawn and played catch with me. It became a tradition for us. Each night after work dad would go get the gloves and we would head outside where he would throw me grounders, toss flies over my head, and work with me on throwing accurately. He never pushed me to like baseball, a sport he loved as a boy, but rather made it a time when we could bond and enjoy each other’s company. The end result was that I grew to love the game and our times together and could hardly wait for him to come home in the evening so we could continue our tradition.

By the time I was twelve I told him I thought I’d like to turn out for a team that summer, but that I had doubts that I was good enough, doubts that I would fit in socially, and doubts and fears about being ridiculed if I tried and didn’t make the team.

Now remember, my father had been working with me for close to six years by then and he was pretty sure I had some decent ability, so he sat me down and said, “Bill, as long as you have a baseball in your hand you’ll never have to worry about being accepted.” So I turned out for the elite Babe Ruth team that year as a 5’1” 105 lb pitcher, made the team, and ended up garnering the MVP trophy at the end of the year.

When the season was finally over my dad and I were playing catch one evening in September and I thanked him for his advice and support but told him I was a little confused by what he had told me back in April, about having acceptance as long as I held a baseball. I asked him what happens when the day comes that I can no longer can throw a baseball? Where does the acceptance come from then?

He ruffled my hair and said, “Bill, when that day comes, you’ll no longer need a baseball or anything else to give you self-worth and confidence.”

And he was right of course. I went on to pitch in high school and two years of college before a rotator cuff injury to my pitching shoulder ended those baseball dreams. By that time I no longer needed the aid of baseball to find my way through life. My self-worth and confidence were badly shaken because of alcohol for a couple decades, but once alcohol was taken from the equation the confidence that I had found so many years ago returned.

Over the years I have met quite a few people who were sorely in need of that lesson that my dad taught me long ago. Life had beaten them down and no matter what they tried, no matter what the remedy they employed, they could not seem to stand on their own and find their way. It’s a sad thing to witness and an even sadder thing to realize that you can’t save everyone. We each have to find our own “baseball” that helps us gain self-confidence. Sometimes it is a person, or group of people, who provide that foundation for us, a safe place where we can make mistakes and know that it’s okay. Sometimes it is a special talent that allows us to establish roots of confidence and gives us stability until those roots have grown deep and strong. But for some, that special talent or those special friends are missing from their lives and then where does the strength come from?

The only thing I know for sure is that it is in each of us, no matter how deeply it may be buried in our subconscious. We all have the ability to stand on our own, to face the toughest challenges, and to do so with pride and self-assurance. There is no shame in reaching out for help until the day comes that you can stand alone. There is no shame in saying that you simply can’t make it on your own. There is no shame in admitting that you are, after all, only human.

2012 Bill Holland (aka billybuc)

http://billybuc.hubpages.com/hub/Remembering-My-Fathers-Death-January-9-1969

http://billybuc.hubpages.com/hub/A-Pleasant-Journey-Back-In-Time

http://billybuc.hubpages.com/hub/My-Love-Affair-With-Baseball





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      Kathleen Kerswig 5 years ago

      I love this hub! Thank you for sharing the lesson with all of us. There is nothing wrong with accepting that we are human - that acceptance actually allows our strengths and blessings to shine through even more. We all have a strong spirit within us and you did a wonderful job reminding us that it exists in all of us. Great job!

    • jacqui2011 profile image

      jacqui2011 5 years ago from Leicester, United Kingdom

      What a great hub. We are only human and we do all make mistakes, but it's how we deal with them that makes us who we are. Your Dad's advice to you was probably the best I have heard in a long time. Nicely written and a message to all of us that challenges can be overcome with the right approach. Voted up and beautiful.

    • teachertalking1 profile image

      teachertalking1 5 years ago

      How blessed you were to grow up with such a wise, caring father! I love how he quietly imparted such a beautiful life lesson to you. Thanks for sharing another well written Hub with very powerful and inspiring message - God Bless!

    • sweethearts2 profile image

      sweethearts2 5 years ago from Northwest Indiana

      A message of love and worth to a boy and a lesson for us. Thanks for sharing

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I will respond to all of you as soon as our power returns after a major snowstorm wiped us out here in Olympia.

    • hazelwood4 profile image

      hazelwood4 5 years ago from Owensboro, Kentucky

      Thank you for sharing this extremely valuable lesson that your father taught to you. We have all faced many challenges in our life, but it is how well we come out in the end that counts! One of my favorite quotes from a Pastor I had years ago is, "Problems will make you bitter or better." Again, thank you so much for sharing!

    • pjpitts profile image

      pjpitts 5 years ago from United States

      I liked your hub very much, it is hard sometimes to be confident and secure in yourelf without a solid foundation like your dad gave you, he sounds like a terrific person, this was a real hope filled hub!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kathleen...thank you for your words and you are right on in your comments...we are all strong within...and I love being human!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      jacqui...I appreciate your words. My dad was quite the guy...a very flawed human being but so wise.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Teacher...coming from you that is high praise. Thank you so much for your comment.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      sweethearts2...I was a lucky boy and now looking back I realize I am the man I am because of the lessons my dad taught me. Thank you for commenting.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      hazelwood4...you are very welcome and thank you for your comments. I wish I had been wise enough to learn the lessons my dad taught me right off instead of stumbling my way towards happiness, but his words are with me daily now.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      pjpitts...thank you for your kind words. My dad was the best dad he knew how to be and I was lucky to have had him for twenty years.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      To all of you: I am sorry it took so long to reply to your comments. A snowstorm left me without power for four days but I read your messages from the library and they meant a great deal to me.

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 5 years ago from California

      We are all only human I guess--but it is wonderful to know that and hold the experiences of our youth close--especially when they are so rich--

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Audrey...I was a lucky kid; at the time I'm not sure I knew it but looking back my dad was full of wisdom. Thank you for reading my hub.

    • dkm27 profile image

      dkm27 5 years ago from Chicago

      I was a member of Recovery, Inc., now called Recovery, International. I battled the major depression monster for 13 years, and Recovery was the only treatment left. I learned that I could "face, tolerate and endure" the illness as I practiced the method offered by Dr. Abraham A. Low. A lot of pride goes with conquering a horrifying illness.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      dkm27...without a doubt you are right. Congratulations on your recovery and I hope happiness is with you always. Thank you for reading and the comment.

    • Injured lamb profile image

      Injured lamb 5 years ago

      It's a touched and valuable lesson from your wise dad, you are really so blessed to have a father with full of wisdom that can show you the kind of love and care in another wonderful way...thanks for your wonderful way of presentation...frankly, this great hub of yours influenced me much, besides voting this up and useful, it deserves to be bookmarked and shared...

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      injured lamb, your words touch me. That is why I write, to share experiences and lessons and hopefully reach someone through my words. Thank you so much!

    • Curiad profile image

      Mark G Weller 5 years ago from Lake Charles, LA.

      A great message Bill. It's a shame that so many families today don't have this kind of wisdom and parental guidance.

      Bravo on sharing this!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mark, thank you Sir, and Happy Father's Day to you. I know, it is a day filled with mixed emotions, so stay strong and bless you throughout the day.

    • shampa sadhya profile image

      Shampa Sadhya 5 years ago from NEW DELHI, INDIA

      Voted up and awesome!

      Your article conveyed confidence and only confidence. I very much liked it. Thanks for a beautiful work and a nice tribute to your father, billybuc

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Shampa! I greatly appreciate your kind words.

    • ChristyWrites profile image

      Christy Birmingham 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      What a nice reflection on your dad and his words of wisdom. A vote up and a wish to you Bill for a happy father's day.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Christy! I really do appreciate you! Hey, that sounded like a poem. LOL

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      What a great lesson you learned. I'm drawn to this hub today because it's Father's Day, and this is wonderful to read on this day. Also I'm drawn to baseball, and am eagerly waiting the Cardinals playing today. :-) Nice hub to read. Enjoyed it very much. I hope you're having a happy father's day, Bill.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Vicki! I am having a nice day....hey, next to the Mariners the Cardinals have always been my next favorite team.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 5 years ago from Massachusetts

      What a great story Bill. Everyone should have a special bond with their father no what it is. Thanks for sharing and Happy Father's Day to you.

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Hey, that's cool Bill. I grew up with 3 brothers and a dad who always listened to the Cardinals, so I had no choice. :-) Looking forward to cranking up the radio today. I'm sure Dad and my brothers all will be, too! Glad you're having a nice day. See you soon!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Vicki....:)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      bdegiulio, thank you very much and Happy Father's Day to you as well.

    • josh3418 profile image

      Joshua Zerbini 5 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Bill, this is an awesome story! :) I had no idea you used to play baseball, and you did not know I had a twin. This is the beauty of HubPages; I learn something new everyday! :) Great story Bill!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Josh, baseball was a huge part of my life for many years. Still love the sport. :)

    • josh3418 profile image

      Joshua Zerbini 5 years ago from Pennsylvania

      That is sooo cool! What team do you root for?

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      The Seattle Mariners but it is oh, so painful! :) How about you?

    • josh3418 profile image

      Joshua Zerbini 5 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Hehehe, the ResSox, I am originally from CT; and yes a pain for me right now as well! LOL

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      I am glad to be closing my day with your Father's Day post. Your dad gave you bits of wisdom that were priceless. I am reminded of how we have it within us to make things work. Voted way up!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dianna, yes we do! I think you and I learned many of the same lessons from our parents and our experiences.

      Thank you and have a great week!

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 3 years ago from Central Florida

      Bill, your dad was a very wise man. I love his response to your question about having a baseball in your hand. When I read his initial quote, I asked myself how having a baseball in your hand can build confidence. Of course, he was speaking metaphorically. We all had a baseball to give us our start in life. I would love to hear more of his sage advice. He seemed to have a way with words. Now I know where you get your talent from.

      Happy Fathers Day my friend!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Sha and I agree, I had a wise father and I was lucky. So many are not. Hopefully I can pass on some of that wisdom to my son. We can always hope, right?

      love,

      bill

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 3 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Happy Father's Day, Bill.

      Obviously, wit and wisdom was genetic in your family! :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you, Linda! The genetic part would be tough since I'm adopted :) but hopefully some of it wore off on me.

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