Fizzle Factor

Ted Williams once said the hardest thing to do in all of sports is to hit a round ball with a round bat. I don’t necessarily agree (see quadruple lutz), but I do understand what he was thinking. You have to have a culmination of hand-eye coordination, bat speed, power and – of course – a pitch you can hit. You have to balance all these factors to just make contact with the ball, and for most players who do they fail to get on base safely 70% – 75% of the time.

In life, everything is about balance. Work, kids, home, chores, bills, weather, friends, weekend plans, charities, parents ……… the list goes on and on. Sometimes my bat speed is good. Sometimes my hand-eye coordination is dead on. Sometimes life serves up a pitch that’s perfect to hit. Yet lately, I seem to be living my life below the Mendoza Line (that’s .200 for the sports-analogy impaired and it’s NOT a good thing). I don’t know what it is, but I just can’t seem to get everything to come together the way it should. It’s aggravating, like a splinter in you pinky finger, and there’s definitely nothing splendid about it.

One of my favorite ESPN personalities, Dan Patrick, announced this week he is leaving the network in August. Mr. Patrick sites the need for new challenges and the fact he began taking his day-to-day for granted as the reason for his decision to leave. That got me thinking about one of my favorite debate topics: Is it better to go out with a bang or just fade away?

Better to go POP or fizzle, fizzle, fizzle? It’s this fizzle factor that has me writing to you at 2:30 AM. I feel that as of late, I can’t sustain passion for an extended period of time. No, I am not talking about issues resolved by a little blue pill. I am talking about not being able to care like I used to. It seems that every time I am confronted with the slightest bit of resistance or challenge in something I am trying to accomplish, my passion for that item plummets from ten to zero in a flash. I do my typical shoulder-shrug F-it and walk away, mentally if not physically. I let it all fizzle into oblivion and find something new about which to care.

I know part of the situation is lack of patience on my part. Rather than taking a deep breath and giving things time, I go hyper-OCD and need everything done my way ASAP. And if it can’t be done, then I want nothing to do with it. My way or the highway, baby. Just like Frank Sinatra, you can take it or leave it. What I have found is that most people tend to leave it – thank you very much – and the highway is where everyone else seems to be. I’ve found that I have allowed this fizzle factor to alienate friends and push away those I love. I’ve morphed into this persona that I used to see in my dad and always hated. It’s that stubborn, short-fused, last-word-having, it’s gotta’ be on my terms kinda’ attitude that no one every wants to deal with, let alone associate with.

So what happened? Where did this all come from? Why am I allowing something I clearly recognize as bad to continue to grow and expand? I really don’t know what the answer is. It’s not like there is an event or an item to which I can point and identify as the crux of this issue. It’s going to take some time, soul searching, evaluating and lots of blogging to figure this one out.

What I do know is that I feel like I’ve been in the on-deck circle for several innings now thinking too much about what I need to do to hit the ball. “Choke up, focus, shift your weight, plant your feet ……..” I think it may be as simple as just stepping up to the plate and swinging for the fences.


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