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He takes a deep breath and grips the ball tightly.
His face is serious; his lips are straight.
He repeats the lecture his dad gave him before taking the pitcher’s mound, the stern and demanding words still echoing in his head.
There are many waiting to bump him from the mound and take his place.
He’s stressed.
Scouts line the stands, watching to see if he’s good enough for their future team.
His coach yells from the sideline, and his palms start to sweat. He refuses to meet his coach’s eyes.
Everything he is rides on this moment.
For a split second he remembers when the game used to be fun, before he let the pressure consume him.
If he doesn’t play a perfect game, then he’ll be lost in failure.
If he fails, then all the hard work was for nothing.
He prays for the ball to speed across the plate and land safely in the catcher’s mitt.
He prays for the batter to fail.
What he has at stake overrides anything that’s important to his opponent.
The batter’s failure means his glory, and that’s the way he wants it.
He can’t focus on anything else; he’s zeroed in on the catcher’s fingers, signaling behind the batter.
He winds up, releases the ball, and hears the crack of the bat.
He panics over a line drive or a pop-up fly.
He feels his worth lies solely in whether there’s an out or a base run.
He thinks this very moment defines his entire life.

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He takes a deep breath and taps his shoes with the tip of his bat.
A smile sneaks up the corners of his mouth, out of his control.
He remembers his dad telling him to do his best and enjoy being a player.
He knows not everyone gets to stand where he stands now, and many dream of being where he is today.
He feels blessed.
Scouts line the stands, watching to see if his heart is truly in the game.
His coach yells from the sideline, and he gives him an understanding grin accompanied by a wink.
He’s excited for this moment.
If he fails he’s still thankful to play the game.
All the hard work was worth it just to stand with the bat in his hands.
He prays for the pitcher to throw the perfect ball.
He knows the pitcher has a lot riding on this game, and he wants him to succeed.
Even if one’s success means the other’s failure, he still has the courage to cheer on his opponent.
He’ll do his best, but if the pitcher wins it won’t define him.
The pitcher releases the ball, and immediately his bat connects.
He takes a second to watch the ball sail across the sky, into a perfect arc.
For just a brief moment he soaks it all in: the smell, the sounds, the cheers.
He knows that this moment will pass quickly, and he wants to remember every detail.
He feels a surge of pride for connecting with the perfect pitch, and even though he knows the ball will be caught before it hits the ground, he relishes the moment and looks forward to his next chance at bat.

We have a choice.
We can bring the attitude of the pitcher or the heart of the batter.
We can let the smallest moments steal from the big picture or unfold into amazing beauty.
We can let the moment break us, or we can build upon it.
We can let a split second dictate how we act and feel, or we can simply live in that second and move on.
We can cheer on others while fighting for ourselves.
We can be brave with grace.

No single moment defines us.
No single moment determines our worth.
We have a choice.
We can bring the attitude of the pitcher or the heart of the batter.

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