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In describing the many challenges present in life, Ken Beckley chooses to compare them to baseball’s most notorious pitches.
“Life is like a knuckleball, mainly because it is unpredictable, and also because the bottom tends to drop out,” he said.
This parallel between life and baseball serves as a hallmark of his book, titled “Knuckleball: The Uncertainties of a Life.” Beckley was present to promote his work at the Barnes & Noble at the St. Johns Town Center in Jacksonville, Fla., from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
The book details the trials and tribulations of Davie Miller, a young man who goes from losing his dream of playing professional baseball to enjoying a successful public relations career. The situations that he endures throughout this process give Miller the strength to prepare for and eventually counter “life’s frequent knuckleballs.”
While autographing his works for eager customers, Beckley described the inspirations that led him to write Knuckleball. For him, it all started during his time at a summer camp for the LA Dodgers. Beckley sustained injuries during his time at the camp, but despite these injuries leaving him in darkness, Beckley instead searched for a light in this trying time.
This search resulted in him detailing his own life experiences in a fictional novel; as Beckley’s book started to take shape, he wanted to not only make his readers laugh, but think as well.
“I wanted there to be life lessons present in this book, and I also wanted people to get something out of it other than merely being entertained,” he said.
Beckley admitted that the ideas for this book had remained in his mind for 20 years; however, converting those ideas to print took only two years. This rapid turnaround time is a likely result of his wealth of experience as a communicator; he served as executive vice-president of H.H. Gregg along with being president and CEO of the Indiana University’s Alumni Association. Beckley also enjoyed a long career in television as an anchor and reporter.
Many individuals came to Beckley’s location, eager to learn more about the novel’s general plot and its central message of not giving up even as life throws punches that you may not be able to counter. While he was happy to entertain conversations with the guests there, he expressed particular surprise at the presence of Ellie Clarke, a student at Flagler College.
Ellie is Beckley’s next-door neighbor, and her presence there served as an unexpected knuckleball for Beckley, as he had no idea that she would be present.
Beckley, however, ably hit this knuckleball out of the park, as he embraced her and took some time to catch up with her and learn about her new life.
Successfully dealing with unexpected situations like this forms the basis of what the book is about, noted Beckley. He hopes that those who choose to read it take stock of the decisions they have made in dealing with various situations.
“I hope that those who choose to read this book reflect upon how they have lived their lives up to this point,” he said.
Image Courtesy of Ken Beckley