Approval - 6/14/12
I think my shoulder has turned the corner. In my last update, the situation seemed pretty dire, with my shoulder feeling tired and not having much life. The life has started to come back and so have the strikeouts. In my last 4 outings I have had at least 2 strikeouts. I pitched in both of our last two games. It was my first time to pitch back to back games this year. I was still 91-92 yesterday, with 2 strikeouts and a lazy pop fly in one inning of work. It was a really good outing. So things seem to be coming around for the better. Not quite back to where I want to be, but definitely on the right track. I received a really good piece of advice from my catcher a few games ago. He said, “You need to throw your offspeed pitches harder. You need to throw them as hard as you can. You’ll eventually get the feel even if at the beginning you bounce them, but right now they’re not doing much.” He was totally right and since then I have been working on my slider and my split finger. I have been trying to throw them as hard as my fastball, not holding back, no tentativeness, not trying to throw them in the strike zone, just throwing them. They have been excellent! Yesterday I struck out two batters, a lefty and a righty, on my split finger fastball. It was really enjoyable to see the ball dive down and the hitters swing over the top. When throwing a breaking ball, a pitcher must throw it hard just like his fastball. You have to grip the ball and apply pressure with the fingers so that you impart the tight spin you want on your breaking ball. You also have to stay firmly on top of the ball. Don’t let your wrist slide underneath because then anything you throw will be lazy and will not have the sharp downward action you want. I am really encouraged by how my last 4 outings have gone and I’m looking forward to continuing the process.
As we live life, we are surrounded by people who influence what we believe. Sometimes their influence comes directly with direct comments about how we live or what they think we should do in a certain situation. Sometimes it comes indirectly through conversations that we overhear, the content of conversations the people around us are having, or even just the way other people conduct themselves. Regardless of how you try to conduct yourself, the people you surround yourself with, voluntarily or involuntarily, affect you. This is especially the case on a sports team and in a sports locker room. You very well may hear and see things that are shocking, sad, disturbing, and evil. It’s shocking enough to hear the conversations being had, but it is also shocking to see who is approving of them. Paul describes them, “knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things [sin] are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.” Romans 1:32. Not only do they do things that aren’t honorable or what the bible says, but they also approve of people who act that way. This can even come from people who claim to be followers of Christ. We need to pay attention to what we are approving. Think about the movies or TV shows or stories or conversations you are in. Am I laughing at the jokes, am I approving of the conversations that people are having, am I approving the shows that are crude and immoral, am I approving of people who act in a way contrary to what God wishes for us? A long time ago, I told a joke to one of my friends and she called me out on it. She said that it was inappropriate. At the time, I didn’t think it was that bad. I had heard many jokes that were a lot worse, but I had to realize that I spent most of my time in a locker room. I am so thankful she called me out on it. This is really important stuff because not only does it reflect upon my Savior, but it also reveals my heart. What does my heart look like? Does my heart delight in sin? Is my heart enticed and entertained by things that I wouldn’t want my parents or a child or my pastor or my God to be a part of? “8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” Philippians 4:8 I will search the bible so that I know what is praiseworthy. I will examine what it says so that I am not swayed by anyone who may be approving of things that God does not approve of. I will pray and ask God to reveal in my heart where I am not true or noble or just or pure.