We were in the outfield goofing off, neither of us serious sports girls. Plus, this was Phys. Ed and we had no choice but to be there. Still, we had our pride and when a ball comes flying who doesn’t want to catch it? A beauty sailed off someone’s bat, the kind that soars into the sky and arcs way out there, in fielding reach but only with elegant timing and athletic precision.

It was coming for Patty. I watched the whole thing in slo mo — Patty getting it that this ball was all hers, how she set herself up, how she moved into that champion space of just knowing how beautifully this was going to go, how she leaped into the sky with arms outstretched to meet the ball and how it sailed over her head. Way over.

“You weren’t even close,” I screamed as we both doubled over, laughing our heads off. It was legendarily ridiculous. Coach Jensen dubbed the move, “The Trom” in that way coaches always call everyone by their last name.

Fifteen years or so later I was in the outfield again, this time with a bunch of other parents of young kids. And this time the ball was coming for me. It sailed up into the sky, doing that graceful bend around gravity on its way down. And there I was, right in the sweet spot, under its spell with my glove ready, watching in awe as the ball fell out of the sky and dropped right into my mitt.

There is just no feeling like being in the sweet spot. It feels like the way things are supposed to be, what it’s all about. But forty years of living later, what I get now is that the real beauty is in the big miss…how we throw ourselves up there so valiantly, so full of heart.


The stories in this blog are excerpts from my memoir, The Organization Project. While they are true to me and reflect how I see, I acknowledge there are multiple truths, including my own which change over time, even as the events themselves remain the same. What I make of an event 5 years out may not be what I make of it 10 years out.

8 thoughts on “Beautiful”

  1. Hard to get to that place where there is beauty in the miss. But, nice job painting a picture of the “sweet spot”.


    • Amy says:

      The laughing your heads off part! Knowing that you reached for the stars and thinking for an instance that you might touch it. And then the grace of recognizing our humanity but delighting in it anyway. Kind of like singing in the shower and thinking you sound good.


      • I never saw this! Sometimes my WordPress doesn’t show me everything and they don’t show up. There is a comment from yesterday I can’t find. But singing in the shower and thinking you sound good is right on. Just like delighting in our very imperfect humanity which accomplishes so much anyway.


  2. No, I haven’t but it looks great. It’s now in my Amazon shopping cart. Thanks for the recommendation! Well, was this a recommendation?


  3. Nancy says:

    It is definitely a good read. Let me know what you think. Your last blog inspired a connection for me.


  4. Patty says:

    The sweet spot is being in the outfield with a friend who gets you…and who could always make you laugh hysterically.


  5. Oh man, that makes me want to find a softball glove and put a game together! I totally agree. It is a very lucky thing to get lined up under that sweet spot.


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