By Doug Strickel
Growing up back in the 1970s and ’80s, I played the about every sport offered at some point and learned a great deal from each one. Looking back, I think those learnings from the athletic fields and courts were as valuable to me as the classroom education. I make that comment not to lower the value of that classroom education, but rather to elevate the importance of what can be learned in athletic competition.
While all those sports played had a role in my development, baseball is probably the most representative of real life. Baseball exemplifies life in so many ways.
- We are going to fail at times (strike out) and that can be very disappointing.
- We are going to find success at times (a base hit) and that can be so good,
- We are going to make mistakes (errors), but we must learn from it, put it behind us and get ready for the next challenge.
- We may do some really impressive things (great catch in the field), and we need to celebrate and cherish those experiences.
- We are going to experience others letting us down (left on base without scoring), but we have to understand, forgive, and/or just move forward.
- We are sometimes just going to have bad days (give up three home runs in one inning – Yes, I did that), but there will be better days too.
- Things aren’t always fair (bad call by umpire), but life must go on.
- We are going to see others have success at times while we struggle (hitting line drives right at people and no matter how hard we try we can’t get on base), but life goes on.
- We are going to see others that we are close to struggle (teammate in a slump), and we do all we can to encourage and help them.
Through all those failures, successes, mistakes, letdowns, bad days, great days, unfair situations and struggles, the key is to just keep playing the game. In baseball, one team wins, and one team loses based on the results on the scoreboard. The only “loser” in life is the one that quits competing, quits playing the game, or quits trying. Failure is not losing. If we aren’t failing at times, we are likely not challenging ourselves enough! Those that play it safe will never reach their potential.
Whatever season of life you are going through right now, consider what getting back in the game means to you. Sometimes getting back in the game starts with just being a good teammate toward others. Maybe it’s a big step forward in faith out of your comfort zone. It could just be battling through a tough time with the support of a few close teammates.
Just like baseball, life can be hard, unfair and disappointing. It can also be fun, impactful and rewarding. The key is to just keep playing the game!
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