I'm sure, like all proud fathers, my dad can remember exactly how old I was when I pitched this amazing no-hitter in one of the final games of my high-school championship softball tournaments. I might have been a sophomore, but maybe I was a senior.
It was a long time ago either way to still remember the incredible rhythm of that game; Of the step onto the mound over six innings, the feel of the dirt on my heel as I pivoted backwards, the wind as it whipped in my ear while my arm windmilled round, the exacting precision in the snap release of the ball, and the sound of the ball's slap against the catcher's glove seconds later. It was musical and I could hear the beat if only for that game. It's fair to say that while I was a decent pitcher, I wasn't destined to throw a no-hitter like that one again. The rhythm had come on quick and strong and then faded as if it never existed in the first place.
I think about that game and what followed after it a lot for two reasons. First, because I remember how great it was to be in that moment, to have the beat of the game seduce you. Second, I remember it for the feeling of dread after each pitch because I knew how tenuous that beat was.
The process of writing my dissertation, which I began a few months back in earnest, is starting to feel a lot like that game. From feedback on early drafts and other papers, the rhythm and the flow of words seem happily close to perfect, but like the next pitch, I wonder which good sentence or paragraph will be my last. Right now, much like I did some twenty years ago, I'm just praying I make it through the game before the rhythm fades.