At age 12 I was just beginning to notice girls and Maria was a head-turning little brunette. I desperately wanted to speak to her, yet was too shy. So my entire Maria Garcia strategy was to sneak coy looks her way and hope we made eye contact. Occasionally we did and those moments made me forget baseball - and everything else.
1969 was an enchanted season for our team and we won all 18 games, including the area championship. Our team was so good that the league asked us to play one final game against a team made up of all the best players from all other teams. As usual, Maria and her friend were in the stands.
As luck would have it, the game was close when it was my turn at bat with a runner in scoring position. As I walked to the plate from the first base dugout, I looked directly at Maria in the third base stands. She chose this moment to speak to me for the first time all summer. "Get a hit, blondie!" Without thinking, I gestured her a confident OK sign, stepped to the plate and promptly slapped the first pitch up the middle for a run scoring single.
That event remains one of the top ten experiences in my life.
We went on to win that game but I never did speak to Maria. Next season, my age pushed me to a new league and new field and I never saw her again.
To this day, I wonder whatever became of her. What would have happened had I faced my fear and spoken to her? What was she like? Were her insides as appealing as her outsides? Did I cross paths with a soulmate and miss a golden opportunity?
Evidently I was a slow learner because I can also name Jill, Tina and Gail as girls I secretly admired over the years, yet never spoke to either. I missed golden opportunities with them also. Fear had me buffaloed.
Eventually I caught on and had several great relationships before meeting the woman who became my wife. Twenty years later, she still credits my opening line of "Wow, I'm impressed," as the three little words that got our relationship started. Had I not burst through fear to speak them, life would be far different than it is today.
Why do we let fear hold us back from meeting people we feel drawn too?
I think it's because we only focus on the potential for rejection rather than the possibility of bonding. The truth is, people rarely tell you to buzz off in the first five minutes of conversation. It just doesn't happen.
Sure, a person will size you up, scan for similar values and decide if you are interesting or not. And you'll do the same to them. If there's no attraction after the ice breakers, you merely excuse yourself and visit the punchbowl. No harm done. The reward of electrical feelings caused by meeting an intriguing new friend far outweighs the risk of getting brushed off.
Whenever we feel drawn to a certain person, there is a reason. We may not know what that reason is, but rest assured, it is for our greater good. Failing to seize that opportunity leaves you wrestling with one of the worst questions imaginable.
What would have happened with Maria?
Mike Johnson is an energetic writer & entrepreneur. Learn more about Mike's offerings at www.MikeJohnson.biz