Friday, June 14, 2013

Appreciation (49) – Hitting the mark
Torrey Orton
June 14, 2013

It came to me as a I was thinking about some therapeutic matter that being a baseball pitcher ((which I was all thru primary and secondary until year 12 when I realised I wasn’t going anywhere with it and gave it up (with absolutely no sense of loss that I can recall, which is about the best indicator of a timely life change I know) for a new sport – lacrosse – which shared a number of things with ice hockey which I didn’t give up until over age thirty some 40 years ago)) is a bit like doing one on one therapy.

This is a long stretch. But I’ll try to follow the lead of the image. The aim of pitching is to get three balls past the batter and inside a visually defined space with each pitch. That space is characterised by the absence of 3D material definition and so what pitch is in or out of the space is largely a matter of judgement. The pitcher’s efforts are assisted by the catcher, who signals kinds of pitches which might be successful against a specific batter and holds a large glove, not visible to the batter, roughly where he wants the ball pitched to. That’s why there is an umpire standing almost on top of the catcher. An unkind but appropriate description of which is that they look like a spooning couple or a pair of beetles in rut. I’m just following what comes from pursuit of the image here!

Anyway, the objective of pitching is to get the batters out either by throwing ‘strikes’ (in the aiming zone above) or inducing them to hit the ball to one of the fielders. The batter can swing at pitches whether in the zone or not.  A well hit ball can be struck within or outside the strike zone. Now as a therapist I am sometimes pitching ideas, impressions, feelings to patients who are looking for a good pitch from their point of view. That is, they may have in mind what I should be throwing at them and not be able to recognise the good balls in the strike zone I offer up. They may go for second rate material outside the zone (not all of my offers are good; that is, they are uncontrolled to some extent). A good pitcher can put the ball pretty close to where the catcher signals for it all the time.

Like a pitcher I want to get patients out of there to some extent. And the batter wants to get out of there in a different sense: that is, by hitting safely. A patient might be wanting to get a better grip on themselves and look for insight from me to assist. I have no catcher directing me and there’s no umpire to keep the rules for us both. So, a patient may go for a weaker pitch of mine which I wouldn’t have thrown if I had a catcher and an umpire and took more breaks between the action. And then again, it may be that my weaker pitch was also one the patient could handle at that moment; my better pitch might have been untouchably better. In baseball a weak pitch may also be a sucker ball – something that looks close enough to good (inside the strike zone) to demand a batter’s attention. A good sucker ball may just be a slight mis-pitch as may a slightly misdirected comment – an out, a hit or a homerun, but for the patient and me, neither of us may know at the time.

Finally, following this image has reinforced my sense that sports imagery is suggestive but seldom directive.

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