Breaking Bad News Bears
Eric Schulmiller
92

Thanks for the great writing!

As an obsessed baseball dad, I can relate. I have struggled to remain pragmatic and self-aware amidst the intoxicating traditions and ambitions.

I have often encountered the handwringing, caustic and fatalistic nature vs. nurture debate in the domain of youth baseball.

As a youth baseball coach, I juggled the paradoxes of appropriate and healthy dreams and ambitions. I did not want to live in a world where cynicism was served up to children as tough-love humility, where every boy thought he would NEVER become the next Mike Trout. Nor did I want a world of entitled helicopter parents fueled with high-ocatain growling competition, where every dad thought his boy WAS the next Mike Trout.

Lo, the Scylla and Charybdis in a voyage of integrity. Baseball offers mythology for growth. It’s something we do to become better fathers and sons, rather than to become mythical ourselves.

We learn to recognize opportunities to optimize what talent we have. Talent, access to information, and the opportunity to train are beyond our control. To illustrate this point, one of my great music mentors once quipped, “If Mozart had been born in the Congo, the highest he would have risen was chief drummer.”

As a dad, the magic of baseball had been the simple and itterative patterns offered as a father-son theater to examine the human condition, the value of ego and humility, and the entwined nature of learning, attention, motive and effort.

“THERE MAY BE PEOPLE THAT HAVE MORE TALENT THAN YOU, BUT THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR ANYONE TO WORK HARDER THAN YOU DO.”
-DEREK JETER

Baseball with my son gave me the opportunity to explore these issues and to usher him from the fun-and-pizza years to the threshold of his own manhood, and Mr. Jeter’s invitation to author your own life, in baseball and/or in all things we might love.

Look forward to your next piece!

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