We took the bus all the way to St. Cloud (an hour away) to play in the grade school summer softball tournament. It was so hot. By the time we got there, the iron-on patches that spelled out our team’s name began peeling off of our t-shirts.
The score was low and close. Dehydrated, we made it to the bottom of the ninth, up by one. As the visiting team, we just had to hold them off. Three outs. That was it. I played catcher. I beat my right fist into my oversized glove with my name written on it. I called for the pitch. (We had no special pitches, so I was just calling for the ball.) She threw it with the most magnificent arc. Almost impossible to hit. The batter had to wait for it to come down from the blazing blue sky. The batter swung. From the sound alone, I knew she only got a piece of it. I jumped up slightly from my crouch. Legs spinning. Eyes looking upward. My head was so far ahead of my feet. All I had to do was catch this ball and we would win. I chased my heart down the third base line. Head and glove extended. There was no physics to explain how my feet kept my face above the dust of the field’s sand and clay. My heart clearly defied the rules of balance. And I kept running (more falling forward at a wicked pace.) The ball fell into the web of my glove. I could hear the cheers and feel the waves of arms around me. But there was no way for me to stop. I just kept falling forward, heart filled. I was well beyond third base when I tumbled into the green of the outfield. Ball still in glove. We had won.
Some days I still feel like that. Feet spinning, trying to catch up to my heart. And I’ve had my share of face-plants in the dirt, scraped knees, but I wouldn’t have it any other way, so I keep running, falling forward…because, I guess, when it comes to following my heart, joyfully, there’s just no way for me to stop.