Anger doesn’t always have to be a bad thing
If we sit back and see how we react to experiences or situations, we can see our fortitude and determination. Our motivations. What drives us. What we will or won’t put up with. And there is nothing more telling than viewing those actions and lessons through the eyes of our childhood.
When I was six-years-old, my father enrolled me in a girl’s softball league. Every spring, I looked forward to a new year playing a sport I loved. The more I aged, the more I began to master the sport. I grew stronger each year that passed. As I grew stronger, I could hit the ball farther and farther. I got to the point where I could sense the route the ball would take each time I stepped up to the plate.
I could feel when the opportune time to hit the ball would be. And when the bat and the ball would connect, I’d feel the energy, and that force felt like power. Feeling the connection and watching that ball fly high and far into the sky was the ultimate high. It was a beautiful sight too.
As I grew older, I wanted to challenge myself more. While I had mastered many positions on the field, I wanted to try something new. I wanted to try a position I had never done before. I wanted to be a pitcher.
A pitcher plays an important role in the team. They set the tone and the flow of the game. They help the team stay in a position to win a game. A pitcher has the power to stop or prevent a team from scoring. If they can accomplish that task, their team will continue scoring — promising a certain victory. I wanted the challenge. I wanted that responsibility.
I worked with my dad almost every day. He was my catcher. I practiced until I felt comfortable enough that I could be successful in the position. If I’ve ever wanted something, I was always confident enough to seek it out myself. At the next practice, I asked my coach if I could have a chance to pitch. I approached her with excitement and asked her if I could go with the pitchers to practice so she could see what I could do.
“No, not today Sarah,” she said. “Maybe another time.”
“Another time. OK, yes, sure,” I replied.
I was a bit disappointed but understood that my request might have come at the wrong time, or maybe my coach had something else on her mind. I continued to practice with my dad, and I continued to ask my coach at each practice if she’d be willing to take a look at my pitching.
I even started asking at games if I could try an inning. The answer was always no. Her focus was on having a winning season. She didn’t realize that perhaps a successful season would be in our grasp if she’d take a look at a fresh new pitcher to help lead the team.
An entire season went by without my coach ever allowing me to show her what I could do, which angered me. I felt a fire burn inside me again to want to prove my coach wrong, and even more, I wanted to succeed at something they didn’t have the time even to watch me do.
While anger comes across as a negative emotion, it can lead to good things. It leads to determination. It leads to self-discovery and a willingness to set your path.
Summer turned to fall, fall to winter, winter turned to spring. As the new season approached, I was planning on being a pitcher. Even though I had spent years on the same team, I knew if I wanted to make it as a pitcher this year, I needed a new team. It was serendipitous that year the prices had gone up significantly for the softball affiliation.
“The pricing is ludicrous,” my father explained. “We’ll just have to find another league.”
And that we did. We found a league that was closer to home. It was one that the majority of my friends also participated in. This was a win-win in so many ways. Fresh starts are exciting. On my first day, my father and I walked up to my new coach and introduced ourselves. “Hi, I’m Coach Bill,” he said. “What’s your name?”
“My name is Sarah,” I answered as we shook hands.
“So Sarah, what positions do you play,” he asked?
“I’m a pitcher,” I replied without hesitation. It wasn’t a lie. I pitched plenty in the backyard. Enough to know I could perform the task successfully.
“Excellent! Welcome to the team,” said Coach.
I won’t lie. I was very nervous about whether or not I’d perform well when my new coach wanted to see how well I could pitch. But I rose to the occasion. I had speed and accuracy with every pitch I delivered. I had proven myself and earned the position I had desperately wanted.
I quickly became a star pitcher. I opened and closed the game. I even would pitch full games if a lot was riding on it. I became an all-star player for the remainder of my little league career.
I even had multiple opportunities to pitch against that coach who didn’t give me an opportunity. Each game was close. Some of my team won, some they won. But during the first game against her, she did approach me after the game.
“Well done,” she said. “You pitched an incredible game.” Perhaps at that moment, she learned something as well, that sometimes you need to be willing to give someone a chance — a full-circle moment.
They always say, “cooler heads prevail,” and while there is truth to that, I do believe anger can ignite a fire within you. It’s important to always be respectful and never let anger destroy a relationship. Instead, let anger give you an edge to follow your instincts. It can guide you to make things happen for yourself. It’s crucial not to stunt your growth because someone may not have the vision you have for yourself.
This simple story is something that can be used in a variety of situations in your life. Whatever your situation, we have one life. So set the world on fire and captain your ship to whatever destination you desire.
This article was originally posted on Medium.com.
About the Author
Sarah Seweryniak was born and raised in Buffalo, New York. Sarah’s writing career has spanned over a decade, writing for local newspapers and online publications. She loves writing pieces that connect, inform, and inspire. Subscribe to her e-mail list by clicking here.