On our way to the ballpark, my friend told me how he had always wanted to catch a ball at a game and so he always took his glove with him. He was so giddy about the prospect that I did not express to him my massive doubts that it would ever happen – the odds were heavily against it.
We settled into our seats between third base and home plate and watched as the game progressed. It occurred to me that I had not seen anyone as old as my friend with a glove at the game - ever. It also was amazing to realize that he never took the glove off his hand. He was wearing it as if he might have been in the middle of playing catch with someone and just sat down for a brief break. As the innings began to tick by, I felt a little sorry for him – this dream of catching a ball was so entrenched in him that he couldn’t remove his glove for a moment.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, a batter popped a pitch foul in our direction. Naturally, everyone in the section stood up. My friend thrust his gloved hand into the air and stood still as a statue. As I watched the arc of the ball, I realized that it was going to come fairly close to us. My friend remained cemented in his pose, as everyone around him started jumping and flailing their arms about. My friend never moved an inch beyond standing up and reaching to the sky. I will never forget standing next to my frozen friend as that baseball fell out of the sky and landed directly into his glove. It never entered my mind to try and catch it, as it was hit directly to him, a la Smalls in The Sandlot. Everyone around us cheered him and gave him high fives for catching the ball cleanly.
As we sat down in complete jubilation and bewilderment, the reality began to set in: his dream had come true and it had happened on his birthday. Suddenly, a man with a camera and an employee were at our side. They took his picture, which was then displayed on the stadium screen with the caption “Catch of the Game”. My friend was over the moon. He sat there and said “The only thing that could make this better is if someone would hit a home run”. Moments later, that happened as well. It was an unforgettable day.
Thinking back on the events of that day, I find myself naturally connecting the idea of dreams to goals. This leads me to the following questions:
How often do we dismiss people with dreams/goals that we may think are unreasonable, unreachable or impossible?
- My friend had a dream that many people have at some point in their life but few ever come close to obtaining. There are people in your life right now that are pursuing something that most people think is unreachable. You can be a resource to them – helping another person reach their goal is never a wasted endeavor.
How often do we criticize them, mock them or even hinder them as they continue to prepare for the hoped conclusion?
- My friend went back to get his glove and all I could think of were the odds being so heavily against him ever catching a ball. People want to believe in something more and are often willing to sacrifice time, energy, money or social status to try and make it a reality. You can be a source of encouragement to them - everyone needs a kind word or gesture to help motivate them.
How often do we secretly wish that they would give up on that dream/goal because it may make us uncomfortable?
- My friend looked odd as a 40 year old man wearing a worn ball glove to the ballpark and would have fit in better without the leather on his hand. Just because their dream does not match ours does not make it any less important. You can be supportive of them in their pursuit – most likely they will support you in return.
I am happy that my friend didn’t give up on his dream. I am glad that he continued to prepare for the moment when he could capitalize on that dream and make it a reality. I am thrilled by the fact that his dream became so much more than he had ever hoped or imagined. I am amazed by the fact that all these years later I still have such emotion tied up in having been there to see him capture the dream he had spent his lifetime chasing.
Dreams and goals are worth having and worth chasing.
What’s the dream that you are chasing right now? Grab your glove and go catch it!
--- This was originally published on LinkedIn