Thursday, April 23, 2009

learning through baseball

It's supposed to be 70 degrees today (21 to those of you who don't use Farenheit). And, that means one thing to me, baseball. I love baseball.
To many, baseball is a boring, endless succession of spitting, scratching, and slow moving action. To me, a baseball field is a dirt and grass chess board with people of all speed, strength and skill displaying their particular skills, where personal sacrifice for the betterment of the team is rewarded, and the selfish strike out.
It's a game of endless preparation, a game where the small guy has a chance against the big guy.
I coached baseball for a lot of years. I wanted it to be fun. I wanted it to be a learning experience. It was for me.
So often, I would hear parents and other coaches talk about winning, as if winning was the only thing that could validate them, their children, their family, their life. I would always explain that winning could happen, and so could losing.
It was my job to prepare their kids to be in a position to succeed, but not succeed at all costs. We were going to do things right and we were going to do the best we could to win. But, we weren't going to take shortcuts. We were going to be better at the end than we were in the beginning.
But, we were also going to prepare to lose the right way. We were going to respect the opponent. We were going to congratulate them on their good play. And we were going to mean it.
You see, to me, baseball is a metaphor for life. You prepare. You win some. You lose some. But, in the end, you can lose yourself in winning. And, sometimes you can win yourself in losing. It's pretty simple.

1 comment:

  1. Having just finished "The Yankee Years" (Torre/Verducci) I could not be in more complete agreement with your beliefs. The Boss and his minions chased World Series ego boosts and glory, damn the costs in money or humanity.
    Then there is Joe Maddon, of the Rays, who is of the Tom E School of preparation and a tip of the hat to the Other Team. Go Rays! Go Tom!