Confessions from the (Im)Perfect Game

Last week, one of our pitchers was off to a phenomenal start. After four complete innings, he was on his way to a perfect game.  He walked a batter in the fifth, but a double-play and a strikeout at least allowed the no-hitter to continue. Our opponents earned their first hit in the sixth inning.

Perfection isn’t just difficult. It’s impossible.

A hitter who fails seven out of ten times can enter the hall of fame. Even if he is four-for-four one day, he is bound to get thrown out the next. Even a pitcher who has achieved a no-hitter—or the even rarer perfect game—will not maintain these impressive statistics throughout his career.

We once had a pitcher throw a no-hitter…and still lose.

Baseball reminds me daily that no one is perfect. And somehow, many athletes achieve greatness despite their imperfections. I tend to seek perfection despite the fact that I know it is unattainable, so I need those reminders.

I’m imperfect in every way. I sin. I fail. I hurt the people who mean the most to me. I hold grudges. I stubbornly refuse to relinquish control or concede in an argument, no matter how petty. I strive for perfection to the point that I adamantly ignore my own imperfections, no matter how blaring they may be.

In a baseball game, perfection keeps us on the edge of our seats because we know it cannot last. We wait in anticipation for it to fall apart. Every streak is bound to end, so we hold our breath in fear that this next opportunity will be when it falls apart.

It’s easier to be imperfect. It’s more comfortable.

But somehow I know I am not alone in striving for perfection. For me, it ends up looking something like this: I bite my tongue when I see someone doing something the wrong way differently. I clean the house and sit on the edge of my seat for it to get dirty again. I cringe when something is left out of place the same way I cringed in the sixth inning of last week’s game when our opponents earned their first hit.

Imperfection is a lot more fun. It’s more relaxing. Imperfection should be easier to accept because it is natural. It is perfectly normal.

Everyone who achieves greatness does so despite imperfection. Maybe even because of imperfection. After all, we tend to learn from our mistakes and failures, even the ones we continue to make time and again, so it is our imperfection that drives us.

But why is it still so hard to accept?

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