Baseball; a Life Perspective
“The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes of mind”— William James
Life is What Happens When We Aren't Planning
William James once said “The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes of mind”. William James wrote the first psychology book. James would later move into philosophy after deciding that he was more suited to philosophy than psychology. Every person makes a thousand decisions a day. Some of those decisions are important and some are not as important. None of your decisions are as important as deciding what your attitude is going to be. How are you approaching your day? Do you have expectations? Do you plan your day and then feel frustrated when the day doesn’t turn out as you planned? This article is for everyone out there who feels like life isn’t going the way they want.
The Curve Ball
Two things are needed to throw a good curve ball; proper grip and wind resistance (How does it work, 2011). According to How it works.com, a major league batter only hits the ball 30% of his at bats. The thing that brings the batters average down is the curve ball. In baseball the curve ball is the hardest pitch to hit because, it pretends to go out of the strike zone making the batter think it's not worth swinging for, then at the last second the ball curves into the strike zone a=hitting the catchers glove. The pessimist may think they strike out more often than they are bat. The optimist will see the curve ball as an opportunity. Every swing counts in life. The amount of swings is directly related to the amount of hits.
The Fast Ball
A fastball comes at a person quickly with such force that some batters may be tempted to get out of the way. The reflex to run or duck often has to be resisted in order to accomplish the task of a home run or at least getting on base. The distance the ball will travel when hit depends on the angle and speed the bat is traveling when it makes contact with the ball (Emporium, 2011). We all know that a ball hit at the right angle will travel way into the stands and in some cases out of the park.
The Slow Pitch
A slow pitch in baseball is thrown to confuse the batter and make them swing too soon. When you are up to bat you can count the seconds it takes for the ball to leave the pitchers glove and cross the plate. Batters who have watched a pitcher often know the pitch count and are ready for the fast ball. Other batters wait for the slow pitch because in reality it is the easiest to hit.
Have you ever watched a little league game? Some of those kids will swing at anything. They hit off the most unbelievably ridiculous pitches. Sometimes they club that ball and send it in weird directions. These kids are not afraid to swing at the ball. As we grow up we overthink life, we focus too much on the strike outs, and hold on too tightly to what we consider our failures. We need to approach life more like children and swing at the ball.
Baseball is more than a game. It's like life played out on a field.— Juliana Hatfield
What We Know is Small Compared to What is Happening
A curve ball is not as fast as the fast ball. The curve ball is thrown to fool the eye as to where the ball is going. In the last second that curve ball falls into the catcher glove in the exact spot that it was supposed to land. If the batter does not judge correctly, if the batter hesitates too long or judges a little off, a strike is called. In life we misjudge things that are happening around us. We only have the information of what we see. We forget that behind the pitch could be an other idea of where that ball is going. Too often we forget that possibilities are endless, that the ball may be worth hitting, or that we have to try to hit the ball to up our average.
Hitting The Curve Ball
What does any of this have to do with life? Life throws us curve balls, Life chucks things at us that look like its going to miss the strike zone, and if we don’t pay attention and swing, we are going to get struck out. Dave Hudgens Stated there are three things needed to hit a curve ball:
- Study the pitcher
- Knowing the proper keys to hitting the off-speed pitch
- Practicing curve ball drills
I think Dave is onto something. Preparation is the key to hitting the pitch. One of the best ways to prepare is to adjust our attitude toward the day. While it's fine to plan, be aware that it may not go as planned. Create the mindset that you are going to look for the opportunity to hit the ball. If we know the proper ques for hitting the off pitch, we are prepared to hit whatever is thrown. Practicing hitting a curve ball, in life, doing something right takes practice, lots of practice. When you get up in the morning tell yourself "this day may present challenges but, I will face them with the attitude that challenges are opportunities".
Life is Baseball
How does this translate? Life throws you curve balls. Because, we cant see into the future we do not know if that ball is going in or out of the strike zone. If we don’t swing then we know we will not hit the ball. The best thing we can do is swing and hope for the best. Baseball is a game of skill and strategy. Life should be lived with skill and strategy. If we swing and miss then there is always the next pitch or the next at bat. It is better to have swung and missed than to give up and not swing.
Life throws a lot of different pitches but, if our attitude is that we are going to swing to hit the ball, there is a greater chance that we will hit it out of the park. We should be excited that we have the opportunity to get up to the plate, excited that we are even put in the game. That attitude can carry a person through anything. Just like William James said “a man or woman can change their life by changing their perspective”.
© 2011 MD Jackson MSIOP