I really don’t care for baseball much. I love sports in general, and stay informed with the headlines of most all sports, but as for sitting down and watching an entire baseball game, I can’t say I have done that in years.
Baseball is sort of boring to watch. Not a lot of action spread out over a great deal of time. Today I realized that life is a lot like baseball, which is probably why I’m not a big fan of either one.
Baseball seems like the only job in America where if you succeed about 30% of the time (see also batting averages) you’re the best at your job. In my job at the paper, I’d be fired if I only did 30% of an article. Elite baseball players are paid millions of dollars to succeed 30% of the time and lower.
But then again, baseball is a lot like life.
I remember playing baseball and the only thing I enjoyed about it was running bases and catching pop flies. Unfortunately, to run bases you had to get on base and that meant batting, which I hated. I didn’t really understand as a kid how the odds of getting a hit were not in my favor. I remember crying almost every time I struck out. I just wasn’t used to not being able to succeed at something every time.
Baseball, like life, is about how you deal with the failures and struggles. Odds to succeed are stacked against you in both things, and I suppose it’s about getting back up to bat and seeing if you’ll strike out again. Baseball is about bouncing back.
Baseball is a lot like life because the possibility of failure is always there and imminent, and the odds of succeeding are less than the odds failing.
I do believe that life isn’t about succeeding as much as it is about failing. I don’t think you can truly appreciate success without the inevitability of failure. In fact, I don’t think you can truly have success without failure. Failure is the necessity, the cause and the effect, of desire. I’ve heard the opposite of love isn’t hate, but rather indifference and accepting failure is the evidence of not being indifferent.
Baseball is also a lot like life in the way that there is a lot of standing around waiting for things to happen. You never really know when a ball is going to be hit your way, and you don’t get to bat every inning, but success is determined on how you respond when incidents and moments come your way. In life, we will not always meet these moments and incidents with great plays and spectacular catches, we may fall on our faces actually, but the beauty of baseball and life is that you’re still in the game. If you drop a pop fly, your job is not done, you still have to make the most of the opportunity that life has dealt you. You still have to throw the ball in. You can still make a play.
I used to cry when I struck out in baseball because I thought I was terrible at baseball and striking out was only proof of that. Of all the years I played baseball I remember two things specifically. Once was when I caught a ball in the outfield that made me flip over, and the other was when I slide into home plate and collided with the catcher, resulting in hurting my knee that still clicks and cracks on cold days.
Like life, we win some and we lose some, but we have stories to tell regardless and an obligation to tell them. Stories of victories come and go and you won’t hit a homerun every time you are up to bat, and often times stories are of pain and hard times, but they are still apart of our story.
I assume the better we are at going through life, the more opportunities we get to succeed and fail at it. Some days I’m out in right field, looking at the empty seats in the stadium, but other games I’m playing pitcher and my arm is about to fall off but I have to keep going.
Life isn’t about hitting a homerun every time, it’s about how we deal with it when we don’t. It’s about how we deal with striking out, dropping the ball, and slamming into the catcher. Life is about striking out and batting again when it’s your turn again. It’s about dropping the ball and picking it up and still trying to salvage the play. It’s about slamming into the catcher and stomping on home plate because you made it home.
Disclaimer: The opinions and views expressed in this blog are the opinions of Mitchell Richards and do not reflect the opinions or views of any other Pioneer employees.
To contact Mitchell Richards, email firstname.lastname@example.org.