Curveball: (n) a pitch thrown with a strong downward spin
If I tell you it was his favorite phrase, I do not want you to assume he said it all the time.
But whenever he found himself in a predicament, an unusual situation or a circumstance not to his liking, he would utter:
“You threw me a real curveball.”
He was the minister of my hometown church—normally h just an average fellow. Occasionally, in the pulpit he became verbose, excitable and perhaps even profound. But once he took the few steps down from the Holy Desk, he was just a typical sort.
Except for the fact that he absolutely hated any form of transition.
Even when that change was for the better.
Once we were getting ready to go on a church picnic, and one of the ladies arrived late to line up her car in the caravan to the park. Pastor Fussy became distraught. When she explained that she was delayed because the owner of the IGA Grocery heard the church was having a picnic and offered a free ten-pound slicing ham for the festivities, the shepherd of our flock still grumbled, “Well, it would have been nice if he had done it yesterday.”
We must understand why the curveball came to be.
It is a pitch, if executed correctly, that causes the batter to reach for the ball before swinging. It doesn’t always strike him out—but if he does make contact with the ball, normally the hit will be a grounder and easily retrieved for an out.
I suppose at this point that I should tell you that life is full of curveballs. You might anticipate that I’ll make an analogy about how we should all be ready for the curveballs, and not swing and miss or get grounded out.
But actually, curveballs are unusual.
They’re not easy to throw.
They rarely stay in the strike zone.
So a good pitcher saves them up for the right moment.
I will say the same thing about our lives. We don’t spend our time preparing for curveballs—that would make anybody grouchy.
Matter of fact, I heard one batter say, “A curveball is so rare and hard to hit that when it comes my way, I step back to see what it does instead of messing with it.”
Here, here. May we all learn from that.
Preparing for disasters may be the easiest way to welcome one.