Baseball and Life — Batting
You stand in the batter’s box, the bottom of the ninth inning, bases loaded, 2 outs. You grip the bat tightly in your batting gloves and tap the bat at home plate, signaling that you’re ready for the pitcher to throw the pitch. You wave the bat up over your shoulder and dig in.
The pitcher winds up and fires a 95 mile per hour fastball right down the middle for a strike. Ok, not the right pitch to swing at. Next pitch, you swing and foul it off to the right side. The count is no balls, two strikes. Now what? A curve? A changeup? Or another fastball, you’ve got one shot.
The pitcher winds, throws, and you swing and hit the ball for a game-winning grand slam! Four runs in, and your team has come back from behind to win!
What is uppermost in your mind as the batter? A batter’s mind, I wonder?
What has become instinct to the athlete is incredible to the layperson such as me, who is as ardent of a baseball fan as there is.
What I find fascinating for any batter, I don’t care who you are or what league you play in, is the courage necessary to face a pitcher in that box night after night.
The scenario I painted above is a one in thousand shot, but it has happened in the major leagues this year a few times. What courage is involved in batting and utter vulnerability is an amazing thing to me.
Let’s think about this for a second. If you’re a batter, you have the chance that the ball might hit you. You have to, no matter what, banish that fear, or you’ll never step into the box.
There have been some pretty graphic moments of major leaguers being hit by pitches. I’m not here to discuss those. It’s a risk you take, no matter what league you’re in.
The inverse idea is that you have the tools necessary not to get hit by the pitch because you have good movement and bat speed. You take that chance as a batter, with the bat in hand, that your movements will be better and more coordinated to hit that flying object. To me, that’s courage.
How very like life itself. I got into a Lyft the other day to go to the airport. Being blind, driving is not an option. I can’t drive, so I was putting my life, literally, in someone else’s hands to get where I needed to go. I trusted that person and their abilities behind the wheel to do the right thing.
There’s courage and vulnerability on my part, as the passenger, to get into that car, trusting, without certainty, I might add, that I will reach my destination all in one piece. This example is perhaps more extreme than getting into a batter’s box, but I have a question for you to think about.
How many times do you get into the batter’s box of life and not even realize the courage you are putting out into the Universe? Those little car trips you take to the grocery store, perhaps. Or the times you go to pick up a prescription.
You trust yourself to get into your car and drive over to where you need to go. I find this fascinating. Those times could potentially turn into accidents. We trust that the other drivers on the road know what they are doing and that something could happen even during the simplest of trips.
I’m not advertising a fatalistic bent, that’s not my goal here. My goal, and curiosity in life, is to examine small bits of courage, just like that batter in the batters’ box, facing a pitcher. Where will that pitch go? Will it be a strike that you can’t do anything with? Or will it be a pitch you can hit somewhere to score a run? Or will it be a pitch you hit that someone catches, and you’re out? In the last case, you gave it your best shot, and it didn’t work out.
Again, how very like life itself. You might try some idea in your business or personal life, and it just might not work out, but, darn it, you gave it your best shot.
These are just thoughts to consider as you go about your life. Please don’t discount the courage and utter vulnerability it takes to do the small things daily.