Take me out to the ball game…how many of you are sitting with peanuts and Cracker Jacks in your hands as we speak? If not, I bet you want some now, don’t ya’? Boy, I sure do!
I thought I would share a life lesson I learned that had some inspiration from Swayze Field in this story for you all. Tis’ the season, right? Ah, yes, Cracker Jacks!
In the summer of 2009, Coach Mike Bianco awarded my son, Nathan, also known as “Moose”, the “Will to Win” award at Ole Miss Baseball Camp. It was a great moment for sure! I was so proud of Nathan for the determination and perseverance we knew was in his heart and soul and to have the recognition of his most esteemed coach, along with his entire coaching staff acknowledge Nathan for it, was really a dream come true.
See, Swayze Field is Nathan’s field of dreams and to see him at nine years old receive this award, on his field of dreams, spoke volumes to my mama-heart about my son. This also taught me a great lesson within my own heart and continues to inspire me to this day.
There is something within all of our hearts that drives us, that motivates us to want to do better, to be better, and to change lives, to give us purpose while we are living and growing along our journey’s path. This something can be called the will to win.
But sometimes, the will to win can be overcome by life’s disappointments, heartache, and the reality that the sun doesn’t always shine, matter of fact, it rains, it rains a lot.
But rain makes things grow. Yes? Yes.
I know Nathan, as a young boy, stood on his field of dreams and received an award that has inspired him to continue to pursue his dream, but not all of us will be in a situation to receive such an award to encourage us, motivate us or inspire us along our journey.
And some journeys are very hard. So hard that perhaps quitting has crossed our minds a time or two. I will put both of my hands in the air on that one.
I am totally preaching to the choir here. Totally.
Let me tell you why.
In the summer of 2005, our lives changed forever when our second son, Matthew passed away. The trauma from the uterine rupture also claimed my health, leaving me with many physical disabilities. Learning to live without our son and learning to live with daily battles of life changing injuries has proven to be quite the obstacle, but not an obstacle that I can succeed at one day and then move past it the next. This obstacle, these obstacles are there daily, they don’t go away. Choosing to persevere through the adversities of living life after loss and living life with disabilities on a daily basis is my only option.
The will to win and the inspiration from it comes into play here, a lot.
Overcoming obstacles, disappointments, and fears that life has given has challenged me on many levels. It is on my worst days that I have learned the biggest lessons. It is on my worst days when I have to choose perseverance over quitting that gives me satisfaction, the satisfaction of not giving up, moving forward, winning the day, every day. Some days, I am not quite sure how I do it, but at the end of the day, I smile (and sometimes cry) because I did.
Over the last nine years, I have had so many surgeries, procedures and tests. Since all of my doctors are at Ochnser and LSU Medical Center, my sister had a custom Ole Miss Hospital gown made for me to wear for my procedures at LSU!
Y’all, I have to have some fun in the midst of all this too, right? My doctor at LSU says we are his favorite Ole Miss patients! It’s deep! (Big smile!) We give each other a hard time and I wear my gown proudly! Hotty Toddy!
The will to win that lies within my heart is so deep. I want to win the day! I want to embrace and enjoy life and be an overcomer! I want to play and laugh with my boys, and I do! I do them to the very best of my abilities. Sometimes, okay, most of the time, in physical pain, but I do them! I don’t want to sit on the sidelines of the game, I want to play!
But if I don’t persevere, I would just be a spectator! There are many who are facing battles, maybe not all physical battles, but battles that are obstacles and that challenge the very breath you breathe. I understand! And I am your biggest cheerleader right now wanting you to get in the game! If your heart is in it, the rest will follow…the will to win!
Having the will to win within my heart has been a game changer for me and will be consistently as I grow old with disabilities along the way.
Over the last nine years, our family has learned so very much and I believe that through every adversity and trial, we have become stronger than the moment before and the will to win; to persevere through adversities has become even more present and focused on in our lives.
If you haven’t figured it out yet, you know what is coming next, right? Oh yes indeed, three words from Coach Freeze that we say every day in our home, at every ball game, and they are definitely running through my head and heart when I am in physical therapy…wait no longer…”WIN THE DAY” folks, “WIN THE DAY!”
Wherever you are today, whatever your circumstances are, I hope you will have the will to win within your heart and the perseverance to win the day!
It seems like you can’t have one without the other! Hotty Toddy y’all!
A special thank you to Coach Mike Bianco and Coach Hugh Freeze for inspiring our family on so many levels! Go Rebs!
– Lori Weatherly is the proud wife of a Rebel and proud mother to three little Rebels, two that she gets to take to Ole Miss ball games and one that has a special “Hotty Toddy” room in heaven. She is the author of “Facets of Life; What I Didn’t Expect When I was Expecting.” Her work includes sharing her personal journey of child loss through writing and speaking as well as her hand painted, inspirational card line. She has a passion to help others and a most special place in her heart for adoption. Her website is LoriCWeatherly.com.