There’s something fun about bringing my lawn chair, sunflower seeds and camera to the ballpark to cover a doubleheader.
I enjoy hearing the crack of the ball on the bat, each player’s walkup song and the chatter from the dugout.
It’s interesting to observe batting routines, and exhilarating to see a team turn a double play or knock a ball out of the park. Lately, I’ve attempted to identify pitches—I can’t say I’ve succeeded. Yet.
The more I learn about baseball, the more I enjoy it.
A few weeks ago in church, my pastor likened life to a game of baseball.
The sermon focused on the journey to become the people God created us to be, but the same principles could apply to any goal—whether that be advancing in a career, completing projects, or visiting places on a bucket list.
In the case of personal growth, being mindful of the present disconnect between the ideal version of self and the current reality can be overwhelming. The chasm sometimes seems too big to navigate.
My tendency is to see all the areas in which I don’t measure up. It can quickly become a mental exercise in frustration and stress, that, if left unchecked, can spiral into despair.
Back to the baseball analogy. Say your team has fallen behind in the first inning. Thinking about all that needs to happen to win the game is daunting.
A baseball player cannot change the outcome of the entire game in a single at-bat, but he can direct his energies to doing what he can right now to give his team a better chance to win. He does this by focusing his attention on the very next pitch thrown his way and making the most of it.
Doing this does not always guarantee success, but baseball teaches us to keep trying. Failure is a routine part of a baseball game.
Think about it. A good batting average is generally considered to be .300 or better. In other words, recording a hit 30 percent of the time is considered good. Implicit in those numbers is the understanding that even a good batter is not going to record a base hit 70 percent of the time. Seventy percent!
Regardless of past outcomes, an athlete returns to the plate time and time again to take more pitches. He must lay aside thought of his previous batting opportunities and focus on winning the present at-bat.
As he steps to the plate, encouraging cries ring from the dugout and the stands as teammates and fans express their support, regardless of what he has or hasn’t done in his previous at-bats. There’s always hope that this time things can be different.
When life seems a bit overwhelming and I’m tempted to think I’ll never grow into the person I’d like to become, I remind myself to narrow my focus and see the everyday challenges I face as opportunities to take a small step forward.
I can take the situation, the “pitch,” in front of me and decide how I will react in keeping with the person I’d like to become. I can work on my attitude and responses in that moment. Win the day.
Just like in baseball, those everyday moments, those “at-bats” if you will, add up to a lifetime.
If you win enough pitches, you’ll win the game.
Janae Rempel is the Free Press sport editor. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.