What baseball taught me …. From the stands!
By James Orsini
This week ended an era for my son as he played his last baseball game of his college career. It was bitter sweet for not only Christian but my wife and I as well. How fitting he caught the last out of the last game to end a fabulous legacy of baseball. We’ve been watching him play organized baseball from tee ball at age 5. I’ll never forget the first time I really knew he had a special talent for the game. It was Father’s Day and we were all gathered at my parent’s house. Christian was 2 years old and we started tossing him a small plastic ball. He had a plastic bat at the time and I could not figure out why after only 5 minutes my siblings were not pitching to him out of fear. I vividly remember grabbing the ball and saying “what are you guys afraid of? He’s 2!” I tossed the ball underhand and he proceeded to smack the ball right into my face giving me the Father’s Day gift of a black eye. Lesson learned.
As I reflect on nearly 20 years of watching baseball, I can’t help but be thankful for the many life lessons I’ve drawn from the game. First, it’s a game of failure. If you hit the ball one out of every 3 times you are up to bat, you are considered hugely successful. It’s a game of discipline. Everyone has their place on the field. Be out of position or worse yet in someone else’s position and the results are catastrophic. It’s a game of humility. In one at bat a home run is hit, and everyone is cheering and next time it’s a strike out when they needed you most and growns can be heard from the stands. It’s a game of patience waiting for that exact pitch to swing at. It’s a game of second chances. What happens one day is all forgotten the next day both good and bad. It’s a game of hard work and repetition. It’s a game of celebration and tears in the dugout. It’s a game of rehabilitation, injuries sometimes occur, and bodies need to be mended and strengthened. It’s a game of expectation. You are expected to perform each time you are “on stage”; in the batter’s box or on the field, the expectation follows you (the performance may not). It’s a game where team work matters. No one superstar can do it all for 9 innings.
I truly hope my son carries these learnings into his next phase of life. Into the workforce and into his adult relationships. Its ok to have failures. No one is perfect. Stay disciplined we don’t need 2nd basemen playing center field. Stay humble; it is a key to success in life. Be patient; if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Forget the “get rich quick” schemes. Put in the hard work necessary to succeed. Life will bring you joy and pain. I’ve learned more about myself in the valleys than from on the mountain tops. If something is broke fix it. If life deals you a blow, get back in the game. To whom much is given, much is expected. Perform your best when on stage. Be a great team mate, doing the right thing is always the right thing. Lastly, reach back and help someone else, we simply can’t do this thing alone.