The Art of Fielding

I’m reading this book, “The Art of Fielding.” It’s about two boys who play baseball at a Wisconsin college — Mike and Henry. Mike is the hard-working leader — the molder, the potter, the diamond-cutter. And Henry is the savant, the magician, the beautiful raw diamond waiting to be cut.

And there’s a point in the book where I think every reader begins to relate to either Mike or Henry. It’s when Mike is rejected from every law school to which he applies, while Henry is being told how great of a ballplayer he is — that he’ll make a huge chunk of money playing professionally.

I always used to relate to Henry. It’s not that I’d had this kind of success; it’s just that I felt invincible, like I could do literally anything I wanted to do with no limitations other than my desires. But reading this book, I’m relating to Mike. I’m thinking of the limitations I’ve hit as I ease through age 25 — the peak of my cognitive abilities — perhaps with the knowledge that there will be things I cannot do.

And, you know, it’s kind of liberating. The alternative is that there are expectations to meet; there is an inherent responsibility to achieve because of some natural ability, like I owe it to the world — like each achievement is just reaching up to par, with never a chance to hit a birdie.

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