How hard could it be to get 21 straight batters? I’ve already got 12 outs. Four scoreless innings. Not only scoreless, but hitless. Not only hitless, but walkless and errorless, too. Wow, I have a perfect game going through four innings. Bear down. Work hard. Make every pitch count.

Then, I hang that curve ball right over the middle of the plate. I knew it the second it left my hand. Not the zip. Not the rotation. Not the spot that I intended. And there goes my perfect game, sailing right over the center field fence.

I’ve never pitched in the big leagues, but that’s how I imagine it when a pitcher has a perfect game going. Nothing remarkable in the first couple innings, but when the outs are recorded and as the scoreboard signifies the three ups, three downs, the pressure must build. Don’t blow it!

That’s what this purple band felt like last weekend. I had a perfect game going. Had tallied a number of days in a row. Feeling pretty daggone proud of just how perfect the game was that I was pitching. Also, the pressure was building. Don’t blow it now.

Oh, there had been a couple of questionable calls, but the perfect game was still intact. Until the soccer game.Caught me totally off guard. I mean, for crying out loud, I have coached for years, worked with athletes. My daughters are all certified referees. But, “Geez! That ball was off white!!”

And there it was. The complaint. And the band switch, made even more humiliating by the pouring rain and the elasticized sleeve of my jacket on the wrist of the hand holding the umbrella. But that’s not the worst part. Once I had blown my perfect game, the motivation to maintain my streak had vanished. Why not toss in a few more comments now that you’ve already blown it?

Oh, little purple band of mine. You are an illusive perfect game.

So yep, I’m back on the mound again. Got my defenses up, especially in the danger zones. We’ve got the scouting report on the other team. We adjust accordingly for the lefty who usually pulls it or the righty who hits to the opposite field. I’m pretty sure I won’t strike out every batter. But I’ve got a capable defense behind me. And knowing that makes me a better pitcher.

What’s 21 straight batters? Ugh. That seemed so much easier in the dugout before the game. Before the world came to bat, dedicated to defeating my best attempts. I am better than this. Better than them.Perhaps a bit of rosin and a pause before the windup.We can do this. Batter up!

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