Chase Your Pitch

Aug 18, 2023

As I walked off the ballfield on that warm Sunday afternoon, it started to sink in that the season was over. Not just the softball season, but this season of life.I have coached my daughter and many of her teammates since they were seven years old. And now, they are all preparing to start their next adventures in college. It doesn’t seem that long ago that they were picking dandelions in the outfield and building sandcastles in the infield. Hell, it doesn’t seem that long ago that I was packing up myself to leave home and go to college. Yet here we are.As my dad always says, “The days are long, but the years are short.”

I love coaching sports. None of these girls are going to go on to become professional athletes. They will all be something much cooler than that.But that is what is great about sports.It is so much more than the game.Lessons learned on a ballfield, about confidence, leadership, risk-taking, teamwork, recovering from failure… the list goes on and on… go far beyond numbers on a scoreboard proclaiming a winner and a loser. Sports teach us to find our passion, to work relentlessly to pursue our goals, and to have fun in doing it. So although we walked off the field that day with the scoreboard not in our favor, I tried to find the right words to sum up how far we have come and where we are going.

I do this for a living, but still it is a challenge.I use this quote often, “I am sorry I wrote such a long letter – I didn’t have time to write a short one”, which is attributed to Mark Twain, Abraham Lincoln, and several other smart and legendary thinkers. It is incredibly hard to distill down a memorable and pithy message for something emotional and complicated into a handful of words.It takes time and effort and sometimes a dash of luck and magic, but it is a worthy endeavor to find the right way to not just tell the story but to make it sticky and memorable as well.

So after a lot of scribbling and deliberation, I finally took out my sharpie and scribed “Chase Your Pitch” onto a dozen shiny yellow softballs.

Chase – Be aggressive in pursuing what you want and go after it. Even if the rest of the world doesn’t see it as a “strike”, if it is something you are passionate about then go after it and swing with everything you’ve got. Chase happiness.

Your – Pitchers want you to hit their pitch and not yours. Whether that is a literal pitcher, society, jealous colleagues, parents, managers, etc., there are going to be a lot of pitches thrown at you. And just because you can hit it, doesn’t mean you should. Before you chase that pitch, make sure it is YOUR pitch.

Pitch – This one seems obvious, but before we can chase our happiness we have to first step up to the plate. Fear of failure, competing priorities, busyness… all these things can keep us from ever getting in the game and even having a pitch to chase. Step into the arena and face what the universe throws at you. And if you miss—focus on the next pitch.

Now, it’s Upstream’s 22nd anniversary. And even though this curiously nerdy bunch isn’t necessarily known for its sports skills, these truths still hold. Whether you are playing a softball game, making a commercial, or designing a product, it is important to find what YOU love, CHASE happiness, and take your PITCH.