My husband knows a lot about sports, and so now I know a lot more about sports than I used to. He follows the NBA and the NFL, and he looks in on Indiana high school basketball. And then there’s baseball. He loves baseball. I listen to him talk about baseball – a lot.
I’ve learned things like, you shouldn’t get the first or third out of an inning at 3rd base, and if a player is fast and doesn’t have a lot of power, he should not try an be a home run hitter. He should instead try and get on base and steal bases. Another axiom from my husband is “a player reaches his potential when he knows his potential.” He also believes that a team cannot succeed if the players don’t know their roles.
So I’m wondering, how can I apply all of this sports-related wisdom to my life?
Let’s take the first thing I mentioned. The one about not making your first or third out at 3rd base. In baseball, when there’s a man on second base, he is in scoring position. “Okay,” I say to hubby, “so why exactly is it bad to get the first out at 3rd?” He explains, but I don’t quite get it. I ask him if he can think of a way to apply this rule of thumb to regular life. He can’t think of a way, so I decide to make something up.
Imagine that being on second base is analogous to being on the cusp of success, but you’re running out of time. If you mess up when you’re this close to succeeding (or you’re in scoring position), you’ve wasted that chance and the next guy at bat will have to work twice as hard. No, that’s nonsense! There’s no other guy at bat in your life. It’s your life, it’s up to you. And you don’t only get three strikes in life, you get lots more, unless you’re a career criminal on probation.
The next piece of advice about getting on base seems like it translates well to life, but it sort of asks you to give up your dream of getting those metaphorical home runs, to stop trying to be spectacular. It makes sense if you’re on a team, and trying for the home runs and failing causes you to fly out. You hurt the team if you do that. But in life, giving up your dreams only hurts you. Of course if you have a family to support you have to get on base most of the time, but you can still swing for the fences in your spare time. Many successful authors wrote their first novels during lunch hours or after putting the kids to bed. Find your own way to be a superstar.
A player has to know his role and he has to know his potential. You may have a designated role at work, but that doesn’t stop you from stretching your knowledge and learning to do things that fall outside of your job description. How else can you truly know your potential if you don’t stretch yourself to your very limits?
My favorite sports stories are about those athletes who were told they couldn’t succeed, but they didn’t believe what that coach or parent said. They kept working, and they kept believing. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team. Look how he turned out.
So I may not be a great lover of sports, but I’ve learned to appreciate them, and I can thank my husband for that.
Here’s a web page with inspirational stories about people who were told no, but said yes to themselves.