A Sophisticate is Baseball

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"There are 108 beads in a Catholic rosary and there are 108 stitches in a baseball" from the movie 'Bull Durham' (1988)

We couldn't afford to go to a baseball game when I was younger. My love of baseball came from watching my mother play. It was because of her that  I learned the beauty of  a baseball game and playing baseball.  I love going to baseball games because there is a part of her that is with me. My mother is where and when my love of baseball began. 

Baseball in the United States surpassed tradition when the  words "curse" and "miracle" were used in 2004 when  the Boston Red Sox won the World Series after 86 years. 

Either watching or playing baseball there is a stillness, a beauty, a level of calm, and reverence that only those who have played or been near a ball field understand. 

The dirt on a baseball field is different then the regular dirt that you would find on the ground. The dirt that gets in your face and on your uniform from playing  on a ball field is like pixie dust giving you the ability to fly. 

When a Sophisticate plays baseball there are moments of true happiness and invincibility. 

Those moments include the stretch of her arm as she reaches for the base as if her life depended on it, the sweet taste of dust on her tongue,  the powder of dust that falls in her face and eyes as she slides into the base. 

When a Sophisticate plays the outfield she cherishes the beautiful pain of the ball falling into her glove at if it were tailored to her hand. 

For a Sophisticate, the smell of her glove before and after it's been oiled is better than any expensive perfume she buys. The right amount of oil and the amount of time a ball is to be held in the glove before it's been shaped to perfection is essential to her success. The process that she performs to shape the glove before she plays is similar to a ballerina preparing her shoes before the performance. 

The other element to the success of her performance is confidence.

Confidence is an end result of when she plays. For a Sophisticate who is a pitcher on the mound,  she feels a sense of  invincibility the moment the ball leaves her hand. For a Sophisticate, the most beautiful feeling is the adrenaline she feels as she runs to each base. For a Sophisticate, the most beautiful sound is the crack when her bat meets the ball. 

"Don't let the fear of striking out hold you back" Babe Ruth

Confidence is what she needs to have through preparation and practice. When the moment arrives when a Sophisticate stands up at the plate there is an enormous level of fear and excitement. There is also an enormous level of  focus. Like life, a Sophisticate must step up to the plate when the opportunity has been presented to her and she must be unafraid to allow anyone to get the best of her.

When she's up at bat it's not about who she is facing, it's not about the speed of the ball coming towards  her. Her performance at the plate is about her and  the amount of confidence she has in herself. Can she handle anything that will be thrown at her? Does she know about the team she is playing against to anticipate possible moves against her?

There have been no women's baseball teams professionally since the '40's. Still, Sophistication in the 21st Century is partly about playing the game and the other part is about knowing the rules. 

The following rules of baseball apply in life:

1. Hold your ground even when the ball is fast and furious
2. Keep your eye on the ball
3. Do whatever it takes to get on base or catch the ball
4. Throw as hard as you can
5. Focus
6. Separate yourself from the game and who you are
7. It's a game and nothing personal
8. Reach, run, and steal like your life depended on it
9. Physical pain means nothing in comparison to the exhilaration of success
10. Crying does not make you a better player. There is no crying.
11. Getting dirty is necessary to win 
12. "Out" is the space between success
13. The game isn't over until it's over
14. Shake off failures. There is always a second chance to get it right
15. Shake off successes. Nothing is guaranteed

"It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The hard... is what makes it great." from the movie 'A League of Their Own" (1992)

Whether a Sophisticate plays or watches a baseball game when the lights go on in a ballpark,  the diamond on the ground sparkles brighter than anything in the sky. 

For a Sophisticate, baseball represents standing her ground and overcoming obstacles without fear or intimidation. Watching baseball is about community, pride, and knowing that she is part of something that is bigger than herself.

In the 21st Century, there are still no professional leagues for women. Whether they realize it or not, women play baseball every day. With each opportunity that she is presented with and each obstacle that she is encounters, a Sophisticate knocks the ball out of the ballpark. In the end, a Sophisticate is  a diamond and therefore, the embodiment of the game of baseball and everything it represents. ;D