Sunday, December 18, 2011

Finish Better

Fall semester is just blinks away from ending.  4 more days of studying. 3 more finals. 2 more trips down the hill. 1 more week until home for the Holidays.  A break that I definitely need going into the spring--softball season.

We'll all finish up our tests, give Coach and Robin our Christmas hugs and goodbyes, and spread throughout the Midwest.  Then it's officially Winter Break -- a time for us Blugolds to rest up, finish out our off-season workouts, and re-focus on the season to come.

With Winter Break comes Christmas, one of my favorite times of year.  I cannot begin to explain to you insanity at our teams' Holiday parties.  Such obnoxious Christmas sweaters.  So many tasty treats.  Both classic and abstract  Gingerbread houses.  White elephant presents ranging from band-aids to grade school portraits to books on marital advice.  So many laughs with this team. Spending time with them is always makes my day and makes the Holidays that much more enjoyable.

With each year, especially during the Holidays, I think I learn more and more.  Us Blugolds decided not to exchange nice gifts amongst teammates again this year.  We all pitched in a little cash to purchase gifts for a local family in need instead.  It reminds me how easy it is to get caught up in the chaos of Christmas.  I forget what it means to have a truly giving heart.  For most of us, it didn't take much to dish out some money to spend on this family.  I know for myself, throughout the year, I don't hesitate much to spend money on myself for new clothes or softball equipment.  I forget the privileges I have.  I question sometimes why it is that I hesitate to give those kinds of resources to others more often.  We did not get to see this family open their gifts, but I can only imagine the joy they must have felt. And man - just picturing that brings me real Christmas joy.

With each year, I think I learn more and more about what it means to lose self.  It means setting aside what I want for myself to serve a greater purpose.

What has that looked like for me in life this Christmas?  It means...
  • Returning the nice sweater I willingly bought myself that I didn't need and donating that money elsewhere.
  • Turning off my computer for a bit to make a few extra Christmas cards.
  • Writing notes and making gifts rather than spending lots on pricey items.
  • Finding ways to serve those close to me and those in the community.
With another serious knee injury for me, it also means...
  • Sitting in the duggout and cheering on my teammates this season.
  • Setting aside my original goals to help my teammates achieve theirs.
  • Committing fully and beyond to my post-surgery rehab to prepare for spring 2013.
But most importantly, it means...
  • Remembering I am 1 of 20 Blugolds, and how lucky I am to get to say that.
  • Accepting the complications and confusions in life. 
  • Knowing there's a greater plan than the one I've created for myself.
  • Realizing that I am blessed with teammates, coaches, family, and friends that care about me.
With each year, I think I learn more and more what it means to finish well.  As Blugolds, we strive to finish well each semester in school.  We strive to finish well with our off-season workouts, ready for spring to come.  We strive to reach our goals and finish each season well.  We strive to finish each day well.  We want to reflect on each year and be able to say we did our best.

As I continue to process what it means to lose self, I wonder if I'll be able to reflect this semester, this year, and this upcoming season, and not say, "I finished well," but rather say, "I finished better."

- Karen Hansen, #22

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