Regrets? I have a few. Three actually. Three that I can think of. Three that can be posted on a public blog. But today, for you...only one. It happened many years ago, when I was young and insecure...as if that would be a surprise.
Yesterday's blog entry got me reminiscing about my school years and as I reflected, it didn't take too long for me to begin recalling my first - memorable - regret. It is now known as "The Hidden Glove Affair."
In my blog Losing isn't Nothing (Aug 21), I wrote about my intense love for the game of baseball. It was my sport of choice growing up. I played ball in recreation leagues, but up until grade nine, I had never considered trying out for the school team. In my first year at Danforth Tech. I made the decision to give it a shot. I was very excited about the opportunity and I remember when the first try-out was announced. I remember descending into the bowels (such a dramatic word) of the building, with my glove in hand. I remember approaching the gymnasium and seeing all the other players, who were to be my competition for a spot on the squad. Then, I remember hiding my glove behind my back and walking passed that would-be baseball team.
I never did attend the try-out. Why? Because those guys were HUGE! Monsters really. They were big, strong and fast. Athletes by every definition of the word. There were muscles on muscles...on muscles. And, they had full beards! It was very intimidating. I was not any of that. I was tiny. Mouseish really. I was scrawny, scared and silly looking. I don't think there was an ounce of muscle, or bodily hair to be found on me. I was very intimidatED. So...I walked on by.
Fast Forward. Grade 13. Baseball try outs had started and I was warming up, with some soft tosses in the gym. In that room, I stood as a three-year veteran. I had experienced my growth spurt (and a new confidence) in grade 10 and had been on the team ever since. On that particular day, I remember watching the door, every time it opened. I was eager to greet my returning team mates, for this would be our last year together, but I was also wanting to size up the new blood the moment each one entered. In came this little guy. He was small...really small. Much smaller than I had been in grade nine. But, despite his size, he proceeded to pick up a ball and began to warm up with the rest of us. I shook my head in disbelief. This little man was trying out for the team!
However, I didn't shake my head because he was trying out. I shook my head because I realized that, when I was in grade nine, those "monsters" that I had walked by were no bigger than...me!
I am not a big guy (at all) and the only monster I come close to resembling would be Grover, from Sesame Street. I do have muscles...but it's just one level of them and a half level, at that. Yet, it was guys like me who, years before, had sent "Grade nine" me scurrying off like a little mouse. Those "super-athletes" had actually just been regular sized dudes that happened to have their growth spurts early (or I was late...who knows).
Anyways, I realized that I had missed playing a year of High School ball because I was scared of...me. Embarrassing to be sure. REGRET!
But I wonder if it really is a regret? To regret is to "feel sorrow for an act that caused a loss." Do I feel sorrow for not entering that gym in grade nine? In grade nine I did. In grade 13 I did. But now? I'm not sure "sorrow" is the right word.
Do I consider it a loss? In grade nine and 13, it felt like one. But now? Not really, because I learned something from the experience. I really do believe that "falling down" is not a mistake in itself. But staying down...that's a mistake. And I, ultimately, didn't stay down.
As long as decisions are made in the present, which isn't 20-20 (unlike our ol' friend "hindsight"), then it is inevitable that we will fall. Although, it is true that with every fall there is some loss, total loss only occurs when we become crippled by constantly kicking ourselves over our error. That self-inflicted kicking is "regret" in it's truest form.
So, I change my mind. I think the term "life lesson" applies more to this situation than "regret". I don't dwell on it, or lose sleep over it. Instead, when situations in my life arise where fear and insecurity tempt me to "hide my glove"...I remember! I remember walking past, I remember feeling foolish for walking past and I remember the new little short stop, who didn't walk past...and made the team. Then, I tell fear and insecurity to walk past...as I put on my glove and enter the gym.
That's not loss...that's gain!
Have a good one,