By Renee Hodges
You’re in exercise or dance class. Floor-to-ceiling mirrors face your group as you flow as one with the men and women around you. You are in the zone. Pulse racing to the rhythmic thumping of the sound system, you push yourself to keep up when encouraged by the pint-sized instructor with the wireless headset.
Then you see her. In the third row, there’s a woman who’s just a little off. Somewhere between a half beat and a whole beat behind, she raises her right hand instead of her left, zigs when everyone else is zagging. Yep, that’s me.
Have I always been rhythmically challenged? I don’t know. If my lack of coordination was obvious in my youth, others were too kind to mention it. I played vacant lot baseball games and driveway games of Horse. I never played on a competitive sports team. Until . . .
Church league Co-ed volleyball. Out of shape and looking for something to do outside of my job and house, I signed up. After all, it was church league. They wouldn’t be terribly competitive, right? We can pause here to let the laughter subside for everyone who’s played on any kind of church sports league.
These men and women wanted to win! Sure, we prayed with our opponents before the match but, after that, things got SERIOUS. I must say my team was very patient with my C- ability. Our coach, Ann, had graciously given me the rating after watching me practice.
But that’s not all Ann gave me. She was a first-class encourager and a phenomenal teacher explaining the rules, demonstrating stances, and teaching practice techniques. I became quicker and stronger. But she noticed I still cringed when a fast volleyball zoomed my way or I gave up my spot to let a more eager team member swoop in. I’m blaming it on the horror of middle-school dodgeball games. But, whatever the reason, I had become afraid of the ball.
Ann believed I could do better. At a practice, she gave me this simple advice: You have to want the ball. Not be the ball or be ready for the ball. Want the ball. That one sentence soon changed the way I played. When I wanted the ball, my mind prepared for options when the ball came my way. I stood my ground when the opposing server aimed for me, the obvious weak link. I learned to set, block, and pass with tenacity. My hesitation and fear waned, and I played past my problems with depth perception and rhythm to have a great season. I was easily the most improved player . . . probably got up to a C+.
I’ve carried Ann’s advice over to this challenge of writing and pursuing publishing. Challenges are inevitable and necessary in life. When I want the challenge, instead of shrinking from it, I can meet it with confidence. That novel that’s been simmering for 20 years—knock it out. Need a platform—take the time to learn how to create a website. Put my baby out there for critique—join a group and bring it on. Tell my friends and family my goal of being a published author even though I know the journey could take years—I can do that.
I’m so thankful for Ann and others like her who have encouraged and challenged me. I want to be like that for other people. So, I’m telling you that you can improve. You can excel. You can do that thing you’ve been holding back on.
The ball’s coming. You might as well want it.Challenges are inevitable and necessary in life. When I want the challenge, instead of shrinking from it, I can meet it with confidence. @proverbs279 #ACFWBlogs #writetips #ACFWCommunity Click To Tweet
Renee Hodges blogs at www.sweetfriendship.life, has completed her first novel, Ona Mae’s Deli and Bait Shop, and is working on the next novel. For down time, she and her husband enjoy traveling, having friends over, and hanging out in their easy pants watching cop shows and cooking competitions.