Lent, Buckeye Softball, and Hunger

I am hungry today.

As far as my stomach goes, that is a rather subjective statement, because I don’t truly know what physical hunger feels like. You probably don’t either. Not really.

But I am giving some types of food up for Lent – and my spoiled body is protesting. In truth, I could survive for days (weeks?) on water and my stored food….that is a nicer term than “fat”

There are other things for which I am hungry. How about you? Think about it…

My favorite softball team is hungry too. The Ohio State Buckeyes opened the season Feb 10-12, in Clerton FL, by going 2-3. More highs than lows, lots of reason for optimism, just a few difficult innings. In Las Vegas last weekend, they lost their first game, then went on a 4 game rip. Let’s hope what happens in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas this time!

The Ohio State softball program is rich in tradition and success. Head coach Linda Kalafatis is a brilliant motivator and strategist. She has 785 wins for her career, putting her in an elite class. Coach K has lead the Buckeyes to a Big Ten Championship and six appearances in the NCAA Tourney. Ali Viola, assistant head coach, was a three time All-American and a Women’s Professional League champion. Danielle Henderson, pitching coach, was a three time All-American and Olympic Gold Medalist. Winning is the expectation at Ohio State.

Can you identify with being part of a company or group or team that is highly successful? Can you relate to MoJo, the SWAG, that comes with that. It is a confidence, a sense of calm, a knowing that even if the ships lists, it will be righted. It is a GOOD feeling.

The 2012 Buckeyes are hungry to get that back. 2011 was an anomaly. Injuries and other challenges lead to only the second losing season in Linda Kalafatis’ career.

So the team heads to Palm Springs this week at 6-4… the first time over .500 since the 2010 season. That year, the Buckeyes started off with a loss in a Houston tourney, then won 4 in a row! (Sounds familiar!) They went on to finish 39-14 and advance to their fourth NCAA regional appearance in 5 years, despite having only 2 pitchers by season’s end.

The 2012 Buckeyes are hungry. There are six players who were Buckeyes in 2010 – they know how winning feels and are hungry to feel it again. Another seven players experienced 2011, with its 13-37 record, as their first year at OSU- they are hungry to get last year’s taste out of their mouths and taste winning. And there are nine newcomers who are hungry to start a new winning streak for Buckeye softball. HUNGRY!

What are you hungry for? What are you going to do about it?

Sometimes when I am hungry, my wishbone is very active. I wish I had more money…I wish I was in better shape…I wish I blah blah blah.

You know what I mean. I know you do.

The 2012 Buckeyes are relying on backbone, not wishbone. They have worked hard in the off-season and in the weight room. They have built camaraderie and a sense of purpose…all under the guidance of an excellent coaching staff.

The 2012 Buckeyes have reacted to their hunger by making a decision….a decision to devote every effort necessary to winning…a decision to BELIEVE without wavering…a decision to stick together as a team with a mission.

Which brings me back to Lent and my hunger…yes, thank you, in my ADD mind, it does bring me back there.

I rarely have physical hunger.

I do, however, have a hunger to be in better shape physically. I have a hunger to simplify my world by getting rid of a bunch of “stuff” I don’t need. I have a hunger to make sure all my thoughts run through a Brita-like filter, so I can encourage others with positive energy. I have a hunger to finish the book I have started, and to write a daily blog that speaks to people in a helpful way.

And I have a hunger for Jesus to be more real, more present in everything I do, every moment of my day. So, on this Ash Wednesday, I will make my way to church. Like the Ohio State Buckeyes, I do better with a team of like-minded supporters.

But I still must make a decision about each of my hungers. I must decide to want weight loss more than I want chips, and firm muscles more than I want to sleep or sit on the couch.

I must decide to want simplicity more than I want that special thingy that so-and-so bought that I haven’t touched for years but might need next week.

I must decide that because my thoughts become things, I better choose wisely. And because words can either uplift or destroy, I must decide to either lift up or shut up.

I must decide that writing, which I know has its source deep in my being, must be more important than television or cleaning (ouch that’s a hard one) or Words With Friends (another hard one).

But the hunger has to be real. I have to want it as much as I want to breathe, more than I want to eat or sleep, more than I want a spotless house with no dirty laundry.

How about you? What hungers do you have? What will you do about it?

The 2012 Buckeyes have a hunger to win…and I can’t wait to watch the season play out, and their dream come true.

I have made a decision about my hungers. Ash Wednesday is a great day to start. 40 blogs, 20 pounds off, a finished draft of my book, each day closer to Jesus…all by Easter, April 8.

You can follow how I am doing, and how the Buckeyes are doing, by reading my blogs. Follow me on Twitter (BethPainter1123) – you don’t want to miss out!

And think about your hungers…share them if you like.

We will talk tomorrow!

BP 🙂