Leading Off


Sulphur Springs, Texas…

Third grade…

P.E. class…

Baseball!

I step up to the plate, ready for that time-honored battle of hitter against pitcher.

As the pitch is delivered, everything seems to be moving in slow motion.

I swing the bat, crushing the ball (and, the ego of some poor woman’s 9-year old son).

The ball travels high above the heads of the opposing players and lands far beyond their reach.

And, there is no wall on this elementary school playground to stop the ball’s momentum.

The opposition doesn’t have a chance.

I score…easily…

Except, that’s not what happened…exactly.


A lot of what you’ve just read is true.  Everything up to that “crushing the ball” part, as a matter of fact.

This might be a good time to let you know that I wasn’t that great of an athlete as a kid.  And, baseball was probably my worst sport.

In reality, I connected with the lower part of the baseball just enough to send it slightly forward with a pretty serious backspin.  I noticed that backspin mainly because the ball reached a height that was roughly the same as my own eye level.

(By the way, things still seemed to be moving in slow motion at this point.)

The ball hit the ground, bounced weakly, and rolled backwards, coming to a stop about an inch in front of home plate.  For a short time, I just stood there, bat in hand, noting how that sequence of events hadn’t really gone as planned; my friends, regardless of team affiliation, largely did the same.

And, then, I heard a voice; it was our P.E. teacher.

“Fair ball…it’s a fair ball!”

I dropped the bat and took off running, somehow making it safely to first base.

When I turned around, I saw a few of my classmates from the other team, one of them STILL holding the baseball, lobbying our teacher for a do-over.  Part of me thought that the do-over might be granted there for a while, but it wasn’t.

At some point, I made it to second base.  And, then, one of my teammates accomplished something that was a whole lot more like that first hit I described.  I scored easily, and my team went on to win the game.

During the next recess, bragging rights ensued, and one of my friends took a mild exception to my participation in this playground ritual:

“Shut up, James!  You barely hit the ball an inch!  I don’t even know how you got a hit!”

Ouch…how would I respond to that?

The only way that I could: “Because, you just stood there and watched me.”

OUCH IN ALL CAPS!!!


Why am I telling you this 30-something year-old story? Well, I think there are a lot of lessons in it for anyone willing to pull them out. But, the one that fits this post, though, is that I really would have rather hit a home run.

And, wanting to hit a home run kept me from starting this blog for months.  Wanting to hit a home run kept this post, only partially complete, saved tightly in a folder on my computer, also for months. And, while there is something to be said for taking a pitch here and there, perfect pitches are seldom served.

Throughout my life, with all of its distractions, my interest in all things involving financial literacy always finds the way back to the front of my mind.  So, maybe it’s past time to share that interest with anyone who’s willing to listen.

Will this project I call Finunciate be a home run or an out? Or, maybe, something in between? Like a barely-off-the-plate single, perhaps.

Guess there’s really only one way to find out.

Because, you know, there was this one time that I barely got a hit, some friends helped me score, and the team won the game.


Thank you for visiting Finunciate.  Come back, soon.


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