A couple of weeks ago, Max was the first-inning pitcher in one of his baseball games. He did a great job. For the next four innings, he played shortstop and left center.
At the bottom of the sixth (and last) inning, the game was tied and we were heading to the outfield. Max’s coach asked if he would like to pitch another inning. I could tell that Max was thrilled as he ran out to the mound.
The first batter hit a single. Max struggled a little with the second batter … he threw some pretty wild pitches (you could tell he was trying to throw it as hard as he could, which he doesn’t normally do). The runner on first was able to steal second. And then third. The winning run was almost home. Max’s coach called out some words of encouragement and asked him to slow it down a little bit.
Then the second batter hit the next pitch down the first-base line. The runner on third was about 20 feet from home plate. The other team and their parents erupted into cheers! "FOUL BALL," called the umpire. It was almost painful to see Max alone on that mound under so much pressure.
With the next pitch, he struck out that second batter. I thought, "How the heck can he stay so composed?!" And then … he struck out the next two batters in just six pitches! Then it was his team and their parents who were cheering!
After all the commotion died down his coach asked him, "Max, weren’t you nervous with that runner on third base?"
"No," Max said, smiling.