It’s not ‘3 strikes and you’re out’ when dealing with FA

Unlike batting in softball, in real life we're not consigned to the dugout if we fail

Elizabeth Hamilton avatar

by Elizabeth Hamilton |

Share this article:

Share article via email
An illustrated banner that says

I have two children who are incredibly different. One is outgoing, and one is shy. One likes to go with the flow, and the other came into this world with strong opinions. One has no known medical concerns, and the other, Amelia, 12, has Friedreich’s ataxia (FA). I’ve parented both incredibly well sometimes and failed them at other times. Thank goodness life isn’t the same as being up at bat in a softball game.

I loved playing softball growing up. When I was young, I watched my dad play with an ad hoc team in the middle of cornfields. When I was a teenager, I pitched for our youth group. I loved pitching. I appreciated the connection with the catcher as the ball moved back and forth. If I didn’t strike out the batter, the team around me would catch the ball and otherwise support me. Pitching felt incredibly collaborative.

Recommended Reading
A bottle half-filled with liquid is labeled

Calcitriol, vitamin D supplement, boosts frataxin levels in small trial

While I loved to pitch, I didn’t feel the same way about batting. Unless some odd foul ball situation occurs, you have only three chances to swing at the ball. Though it’s satisfying to feel the pop of a successful swing as bat and ball connect, if you strike out, that’s it. There’s no room for recovery until your next turn.

One sunny day, while I was pitching for our team, a young man walked on the field and offered to pitch if needed. His offer got under my skin at the time, as I was pitching. Who did he think he was? But this guy grew on me, and, 10 years later, I married him.

We can always try again

In a recent conversation with my husband, we were discussing how to handle a delicate situation. After some time, I smiled and said, “At least it’s not ‘three strikes you’re out.’ We can always go back and try again.”

Sometimes I put too much pressure on myself to make a home run happen for Amelia. I want to handle doctor appointments perfectly, have all the right supplies to make her comfortable, ask smart questions, and keep my cool. I long to handle every hard conversation with grace and ease. I desire to be the perfect advocate at her school who neither embarrasses nor overwhelms her, but who knocks down the barriers before her without leaving any rumble. This mindset is ridiculous. I’m not up to bat; I’m a pitcher.

I’m going to throw pitches that aren’t strikes, and I’m going to make mistakes. What I work on now is thinking about who we need on offense with us. Who’s my catcher, providing me feedback and connection? Who’s covering the bases? And who’re the players deep in the outfield I can call upon when I need them? The great thing about life is that there’s no limit to the size of my team, especially when I allow myself to be vulnerable enough to ask for help.

Thank you to all those in my life who have shown up for us in small and big ways.

Note: Friedreich’s Ataxia News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Friedreich’s Ataxia News or its parent company, Bionews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Friedreich’s ataxia.


Leave a comment

Fill in the required fields to post. Your email address will not be published.