Saturday, January 21, 2017

"Fear Strikes Out"


Fear Strikes Out is a book by Jimmy Piersall, a baseball player plagued by his own set of challenges. But, I like the title as it exemplifies my own battle with ironman. Confession time: I am relatively healthy, everything seems to be working out and the event is getting closer: I am scared to death. There it is; I am scared. It's out. Now to deal with it. Quiet moments I have to deal with all the negatives: number one is that I am too old for this. Number two is I have a gimp left knee that could go bad. Number three is that I can't be sure I can keep going for seventeen hours. Yes, it's scary and I am too old to have to face this crisis down, right? For goodness sake here, next year - if I live that long - I will be racing in yet another age group: as a 75 year old. Isn't 32 marathons and 50 triathlons enough? Where is that rocking chair anyway?

Now that women and wild parties are out, and I can't afford to be a heavy drinker on a fixed income, letting go of my grip and getting old are my greatest temptations. I want to at times. I really do. But, when I visualize that life without fear and challenge, I find myself shaking my head side to side as if my heart has already said "no!" Fear strikes out remember? The other life seems a sort of death, like walking back to the dugout after watching three strikes without swinging, and the umpire has called me "out." "Face your fears and live your dreams," are the words of Jon Blais. So, I must continue to resist the temptation to cave to my fears and have my life die before my body does. I must resist the temptation to die before my time. If I let myself believe all this old age stuff, it will come true. My theory is to make advanced age prove itself: don't give up anything; make it come and take it. I won't be caught with the bat on my shoulder with a good pitch crossing the plate. If I strike out it will not be because of fear, but because I swung and missed.