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A test in Perseverance

For hundreds of miles around, black night, the lamps of Desolation are lit, to a childish sport, but the Void is a child too- and here’s how the game goes:-what happens:-how it’s won, and by whom:

Jack Kerouac, Desolation Angels

Baseball is a lot like life. You can prepare by training and practicing, but it’s not until you are actually playing an official game when your true character will show.

I play on a Sunday adult baseball league and for the last month I’ve changed my diet, ran consistently, and lifted weights like the honorable Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire. Despite the healthy eating and weight training, the results I am seeing is minimal.

A natural reaction is to quit, however, that will not solve the problem. One thing that separates us from other animals is an opposable thumb and the ability to play baseball. Baseball is as much a mental game as it is a physical game. Eating a healthy breakfast and avoiding a late night before the game is not enough to go 4 for 4 with the ability to make all-star plays on defense.

Despite the rigorous trainings, sometimes things don’t go your way. When life brings you obstacles, how will you react and how will you be remembered?

You only get a hit 1/3 of the time? You’re an all-star. You didn’t make an error all season? Unheard of.
The fact is hit-less games and defensive errors occur in life. It’s how you handle them that makes you a better person.

This last Sunday I had one of those games. As I laid in bed on Sunday night trying to go to sleep I kept reliving each play. It was a rotisserie of regret rolling images in my mind.

When I snag this ground ball at 3rd base, I’ll run to the base to force an out and throw the ball to first. Problem is, you aren’t quick enough to snag the ground ball so you never get to execute the plan. Runs score.

When on the mound, the umpire was squeezing me so I had to throw the ball down the middle. Hitters were teeing off on me. Catcher gets frustrated and tells coach to pull me. That is not a confidence booster.

Ball bounced to me at second base for the final out of an easy one-two-three inning, however, as I field the ball cleanly I see the runner sprinting to first and instead of positioning myself properly to throw the ball, I toss the ball in a rush and into the dirt in front of the first basemen. This inning the pitcher will have to throw 4 outs.

Yes all those things did happen. Luckily I did have a good day at the plate as my training regime which includes playing MLB Road to the Show has helped me get a keen eye and only swing at quality pitches. I was 0-1 but with 2 walks and got hit by a pitch.

As I wrestled with these bad thoughts in my mind as I tried to fall asleep and get ready for a new workweek, I thought to myself that perhaps I should have yelled at the catcher.  Perhaps I don’t have what it takes to play baseball anymore.

But if life has taught me anything, it is that you don’t give up on the things you love.  If something is challenging, it is even more rewarding when you focus and try your best to turn yourself around.  Also, baseball is a team game.  Sure my ego may have been hurt, but lashing out at your own team is never the answer.  I am glad I kept a cool head.  The fact that I was able to pinpoint my errors and faults that game is a good sign because now I know where I can improve next time.

No one ever said it was easy, but playing the game with dignity and heart is what counts.  Well it seems MLB the Show has helped my hitting game, but until Sony finds a way to help weekend warriors like me improve fielding via a video game, it looks like I am going to have to practice the old fashion way.

There is always room for improvement, never give up.  After all, I did play baseball on a sunny San Diego Sunday morning which in itself is always a wonderful thing.

carpe diem

Casey at the plate 2010 version

Just like in MLB the Show, in this photo, the author mentally held" R2 and Triangle" down before the pitch to guess a slider.

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