An Aha Moment Ends Reign of Old Excuses

The new NFL logo went into use at the 2008 draft.
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It’s a big football weekend, and we’re in the middle of Day 2 of the NFL being broadcast (loud and clear) across our living room.  I’m not a big sports fan in general, but I do get caught up in the excitement of playoff season, regardless of the sport.   To be completely honest, I get excited over any excuse to make cocktail meatballs and pigs in a blanket, which is what Hon and I are feasting on today.

Speaking of sports, I was overwhelmed by the response to the YouTube link I posted yesterday.   I found Matt Scott’s Nike commercial incredibly inspiring, and I was so happy to learn that many of you did, as well.

Last night when Hon and I were talking about it, he said he thought it would be motivating to have the list of excuses that Matt Scott runs through.  I think that’s a great idea.  It’s a tangible example of the countless reasons we come up with to stop us from doing what we could be doing.  And it ends with a stunning “Aha Moment” that showed me excuses are just that … excuses.

So here is the script, as transcribed by me, of Warhawk Matt Scott in Nike’s No Excuses commercial:

I’m too weak
Too slow
Too big
I ate too much for breakfast
I’ve got a headache
It’s raining
My dog is sick
I can’t right now
I’m not inspired
Makes me smell bad
I’m allergic to stuff
I’m fat
I’m thin
It’s too hot
I’m not right
I’ve got shin splints
A headache
I’m distracted
I’m exerting myself too much
I’d love to really, but I can’t, I just can’t
My favorite show is on
I’ve got a case of the Mondays
… the Tuesdays,
… the Wednesdays
I don’t wanna do this
I wanna do something else
After New Years
Next Week
Might make a mistake
I got homework
I feel bloated
I have gas
I got a hot date
My coach hates me
My mom won’t let me
I bruise easily
It’s too dark
It’s too cold
My blister hurts
This is dangerous
Ugh
Sorry, I don’t have a bike
I didn’t get enough sleep
My tummy hurts
It’s not in my genes
I don’t wanna  look all tired out
I need a better coach
I don’t like getting tackled
I have a stomachache
I’m not the athletic type
I don’t wanna get sweaty
I have better things to do
I don’t want to slow you down
Do I have to do this?
As soon as I get a promotion
I think I’ll sit this one out
And my feet hurt.

I’ve thought of a few of my own excuses, as I’m sure you could too, but now I’ve had that Aha Moment, and that will make it harder to fall back on old excuses.  Thanks, Mike!

Resources: Daily Post
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Flash Fiction: Bottom of the Ninth

© Olivia Tejeda
Bottom of the ninth, bases loaded, two outs. It’s the final game of the Cinderella Softball League Championship, my team is down 4-1, and I’m up.

I haven’t hit the ball once this season and now it’s all up to me. The only way the team can win is if I hit a grand slammer.

We don’t have a prayer.

The championship title is in my hands, my sweating pudgy little hands. My stomach hurts so much I’m afraid I might poop my pants. I swallow hard and wish I could hide until this is over. I want to go home to my bedroom with my books and my Scott Baio posters.

I love that. I hate this.

When Kayla was up, I figured that if she didn’t make an out, I’d have to bat. I’d have to be the one to lose the game, because I know I won’t win it.

Even though there hasn’t been any divine intervention so far this season, I start praying again anyway.

Hail Mary, Full of Grace, The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.

This feels like the hour of my death.

If I do die, at least my parents won’t have to pay for the funeral. Our team is sponsored by a funeral home.

The Colonia Funeral Home …

Owned by my grandfather …

I have the same last name.

The embarrassment never ends.

Coach Rockman gives me four hard raps on the back. “We’re counting on ya,” she threatens through clenched teeth. She takes her game seriously, and even though we’re a klutzy group of 9, 10, and 11 year old girls, winning matters to her as much as it does to Steinbrenner.

I walk to home base with my shoulders hunched over, wishing I could disappear. The stands are quiet. Everyone knows how hopeless I am at this. They’ve watched me strike out all season, and they’re just as embarrassed for me as I am for myself. I can feel their pity. I see it when I look over and see my Mom hugging her arms in front of her. She cringes when she tries to smile and gives me the most feeble thumbs-up I’ve ever seen.

As I get ready to bat, I try to remember everything Coach has told me. Plant your feet a little wider than shoulder width apart, keep your knees loose, stay relaxed. Check the opponents’ position.

The shortstop and second base are chatting. Right field is waving to someone in the stands. Third base is playing an invisible game of hopscotch. They know the ball’s not going anywhere. I know it, too. I’m just not any good at this, but I have to be here because of my grandfather’s funeral home. He says he sponsored the team for me, but I know he did it for the cheap publicity, and I have to stand out here and deal with the humiliation until it’s over.

Everything goes slow-mo as I watch the pitcher start her wind up. My hands shake as I grip the bat. I want so desperately to hit this ball. I want so desperately to prove to my team, to my grandfather, to myself, that I’m something more than a fat little pile of nothing.

I’ve daydreamed about hitting the game-winning home run, and my team carrying me around on their shoulders. I think about that now, and I want so desperately for that to happen, but I know it won’t. I hold my breath and feel sweat rolling down my back.

The ball leaves the pitcher’s hand, and I watch it sailing straight toward me. I keep my eye on the ball and try not to wince, like Coach told me.

Without wanting to, I shut my eyes. I pull back on the bat and swing as hard as I can.

My eyes open, shocked by the feeling of the ball cracking against the bat.

Holy Mary, Mother of God!

I hit it!

Stunned, I stand there with my mouth hanging open.

“Run!” Coach Rockman screams, “RUN!” And I do, with all my might, I do.

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Thank you for reading my flash fiction. Please share any constructive criticism and feel free to let me know about any errors you find here. To read more flash fiction from a great group of writers, search #fridayflash on Twitter or visit Mad Utopia.