Kevin’s glove

153480248Growing up in New York City, Kevin Lessington, a trade technician with JMU Facilities Management, played a lot of baseball with his friends. Kevin was the pitcher.

“Ah,” I said, as we chatted in my office while he wrote a note this morning. “I bet they loved you since you’re a lefty — a southpaw.”

Anyone who knows baseball knows that left-handed pitchers can be daunting. There’s a saying in the Majors that a left-handed pitcher is likely to have a long MLB career. It has something to do with the visual angles and how hard it is for a right-handed batter to hit a left-handed pitcher’s throws.

But no, Kevin said, smiling, he didn’t pitch with his left arm. He pitched right-handed.

“We only had one glove — one for a right-hander,” he explained. “We used a whiffle ball bat that we wrapped up with Duct tape. And we shared the glove and batted old tennis balls around.” So Kevin learned to pitch a baseball with his right hand — and got pretty good. He kicks a soccer ball with his left foot and writes with his left hand, but when it comes to pitching, he’s a right-hander.

I loved hearing Kevin’s story because it a story about change — adapting to circumstances that we don’t expect and sometimes don’t like. We all get ideas in our heads — or goals or decisions — that we cling to. Sometimes, though, circumstances occur that thwart us.

And just like Kevin, we have to adapt.

Recently, I had a conversation with Erin Casey (’13). Erin had always wanted to be a dancer. She started dance lessons at age 4 and that was her dream and her goal. Life, however, delivered Erin a “right-handers” glove. But instead of stubbornly making the glove fit, she did what Kevin did: She changed. She tried the “right-hander’s” glove on for size — and now she’s doing something amazing with it.

Over and over we come across stories like Kevin’s and Erin’s through Be the Change. Justin Constantine (’92) immediately comes to mind. And Dawn Evans (’11). And Gay Finlayson (’76).

I am also reminded of every student who doesn’t get into “that” class or into “that” school or who has to come to grips with the reality that “that” major isn’t working. Life is full of “right-hander’s” gloves. How we adapt to them makes all the difference.

In the next few weeks, I’ll tell you much more of Erin’s amazing story, but for now, just remember Kevin’s lesson: When life hands you a “right-hander’s” glove, try it on for size. You might find it works out just fine.

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About grahammb
This blog is about the people of James Madison University — a caring, committed and engaged community spread all over the world, making lives better and brighter, healthier and safer, kinder and bolder. As Gandhi suggested, we are taking steps to BE the CHANGE we wish to see in the world. And these are our stories....

4 Responses to Kevin’s glove

  1. Eric Gorton says:

    Great story, Martha. Well done.

  2. Janet Smith says:

    I admire the way you “hit a story out of the park” whether it comes at you from left or right, Martha!

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