A short while ago we tasked each other with a homework assignment: What does the phrase “With Eyes to See” mean to you? Our responses were all unique, and we offer them to you now:
When thinking of this phrase as it relates to being a student of pitching a softball, my mind goes to the many different levels of understanding that I’ve experienced throughout my lifetime. At each level I believe there is a temptation to believe that you have arrived to some degree and to assume that what you have come to know is the absolute gospel. After a lifetime of experiences starting with peewee league softball when I was a 10-year-old boy to eventually playing at the absolute highest level that was possible to be played in this world and eventually having the privilege of experiencing coaching some of the top pitchers in the world, and on top of that being given “a gift of teaching” by I believe The Good Lord Himself (confirmed by many hopefully not too deceived!), there is much that I’ve come to see; yet so much more to come to know! Seeing is a process…. IT IS LIVING…. it is consistent revelation…. it is new every morning…. every student that crosses my path is part of the process.
No matter what our level of understanding, we need the humility to see that we are “looking through a dark glass” compared to where we HOPE (as in EXPECT) to eventually be going.
There are moments when a kind of clarity comes over you, and suddenly you can see through walls to another dimension that you’d forgotten or chosen to ignore in order to continue living with the various illusions that make life, particularly life with other people, possible.
The last two parts of that quote are particularly poignant to me as I reflect on my pitching coach journey. The decision I made to modify my approach in teaching pitching many years ago was one that was met with great resistance – both personally and socially. It seemed that overnight… I became quite the pariah, and the local softball circles quickly labeled me as a ‘persona non grata’. My approach? 1) Study what the best in the world do… not what they necessarily say. 2) Verify everything against my understanding of kinesiology and biomechanics.
The personal challenges seemed insurmountable at first, but through humility, honesty, and hard work… the benefits have far outweighed the negatives. For this, I’m truly grateful to those – who like me – develop “eyes to see”.
This is an interesting exercise for me, because it has caused me to pause and reflect on my journey as a Fastpitch Coach & Instructor for over 20 years. I started my Fury Fastpitch Organization over 15 years ago out of a desire to raise the level of play for athletes in the area in which I lived.
During this time, I have been fortunate to see Fury Fastpitch become one of the premier organizations in the country with 7 National Championships over the past 15 years. We now field 15 teams each year ranging from 8U to 18U, so I have a unique perspective in getting to see literally hundreds of players of all ages every year.
I would estimate that over 4,000 players have worn our Fury uniform over the past 15 years, and each one was unique and special in their own way. So, when I think of having “Eyes to See” I think of being able to appreciate each player’s special gifts while looking through a single lens. It’s a difficult thing to grasp, but each of those 4,000+ athletes also learned in different ways. Having Eyes to See requires us to continue learning how to reach a variety of athletes in the most effective way, and to search for and celebrate the uniqueness of each of them.