I dated a boy in college, and he’d always tell me that: “Base Hits Win Ballgames.” Probably because I never let him score, and he stuck around first base. He’d say he was in it for the long run, I guess to win me over someday with a rock and red kitchen, and I guess we were pretty successful for a few years.
But now, in my young professional life I spin that quote around and have found it’s still quite relatable. To me, it means taking what you have now and making forward progress, progressively, rather than shooting all your hopes for one big home-run.
In my horsey life, I struggled through high-school and college with missed dreams and disappointment because there was always someone with more funds, an imported horse, and I missed last weekends horse trial because I had class. I remember one evening in high-school, I was maybe sixteen, my coach had called asking me to enter a last-minute show that was going to cost my parents approximately six-hundred, seven-hundred bucks before hauling and hotels. My mom looked to my step-father who looked concern we would even consider. Then, I called my Dad of course trying to flip the blame and ask for the money. When he said no, I ran up the stairs, through the hall, into my room where I bawled just loud enough so my parents could hear and feel guilty downstairs below. Picture ugly cry, snotty, mascara. How could my parents tell me no, when this one horse show was the most essential step to progress my future career in the equine industry?
Did I go to another show after that? Enough to fill my room with ribbons.
Finally at twenty-four when I landed my dream job. I was receiving a paycheck for riding, lived in an adorable cottage, and training with a horse who kept winning horse trials! I was miserable. I still wasn’t on the Under-25 training list and didn’t have an Irish Import. So I quit. I hung up my riding helmet, I sent off the horse. I moved home and took a small accounting job in a tiny office of seven people.
Unfortunately my veins had been too diluted by the absorption of fly spray, and I never could get all the horse hair out of my truck so I made it three months before bringing home a little bay mare I named Frye using only the pennies I received back from my tax-return.
You know, and maybe it’s age or eating a lot of humble pie. But this time around it’s different. As much as I would love my little Frye to be my 4**** partner, and I don’t have unlimited funds to get there quickly, and I don’t have unlimited funds to add a few more horses to my string to practice on, I’m not crying in my room anymore. I’m setting my morning alarm so I can ride before work. I do have a horse that I didn’t have two years ago. I have the education of saved-up lessons. I have the opportunity to make an extra buck in my barn and catch-ride incredible horses.
It’s not just about riding, which of course is where my mind plays 75% of the time, but if you’re ever in a place of defeat when everyone around you seems to be more successful, take what you have around you and make the most of it. Get good at your job, get good at being confident.
I am completely confident that some day you will probably see me post a hundredth horse video online, but this time it will be of my horse running its first four-star. And until then, and while the Allisons, and Julies, and Phillips, and heck I have to wait for Lauren and Hannah to retire, I’ll have my little time. (Literally our United States Individual Bronze Medalist is over twice my age, guys) And until then, I’m going to love spending time with my little horse, ,I’m going to wait patiently, and I’m going to do the tasks the Lord has set in from of me. There’s some real peace in that. I wish I could tell mini-me that one big competition wasn’t going to make my career, or my Best that it’s ok to pass on the guy she’s not that into, or the other Best Best who yearns to buy a home yesterday inside the perimeter, with a yard, and nice counter-tops.
Let’s focus on our base hits first, and actually win the game.