I had another sports-inspired dream last night, and this time it was about baseball.
I was standing in the batter’s box against a hard-throwing right-hander and I stepped out to regain my focus after getting behind in the count 0-2. I stepped back in, wondering to myself whether he’d “waste one” or try to sneak one past me on the third pitch.
He threw a fastball high, around my shoulders. I swung anyway, striking out. For a brief moment, I wondered if this was real or if it was another one of my dreams. I hoped it was a dream.
Yes. Yes, it was only a dream. I became sufficiently awake at that moment, and got out of bed to face the day.
Over the years, I’ve revealed some of these dreams to my wife, Sandy, and asked her for a diagnosis as to why so much of my sleeping hours are spent dreaming of sports. Most often, they center upon fast-pitch softball, which I played passionately for more than 35 years of my life. But other sports have been front-and-center as well.
Baseball is another popular dream subject. Basketball probably ranks a close third on my dream list. I don’t know why. I never played organized basketball, although I chalked up quite a few years of it during noontime at the Worthington Area YMCA. Football ranks right up there, too.
Sandy, being no Sigmund Freud, says she has no idea why I dream about sports all the time. Me, I can only wonder. Is my mind so wired to sports that that’s all I can think about when my brain should be shutting down for the night? I mean, I’m interested in a lot of things besides sports.
I have to confess, though, that my sports dreams are unpredictable. One night, I might strike out on three pitches. Another night, I might hit a three-run homer to win the game. You just never know. Sometimes in my dreams, I’m just a run-of-the-mill amateur. Other times, I might be attempting to dribble past LeBron James for a layup. Or I might be quarterbacking an NFL team.
It’s fun to see what happens. Ironically, it’s usually when I fail that I wake up right away — perhaps it’s the disappointment that jolts me into wakefulness.
I did a little research about why we dream what we dream, and it seems that the famous psychologist Carl Jung proposed that as we dream, the unconscious mind is providing solutions to problems faced by the dreamer in his/her waking state.
If this is true, my dream about striking out on a high fastball might be related to that time, at the fast-pitch nationals about 20 years ago, that I struck out with the bases loaded against a powerful Kansas team when we desperately needed something good to happen. Perhaps my unconscious mind was graciously giving me the opportunity to reverse the result.
Well, if that’s true, then thanks for nothing. It’s a little too late for that now.