When I played baseball as a youth, I had no idea that the game was actually preparing me for later life. Being a hitter involves a lot of failure. In fact, even the truly great Major League hitters fail (or get out) seven out of every ten times at bat. As I later discovered, coping with a batting slump in baseball isn’t all that different than coping with a string of difficulties and challenges in life overall.
I remember a particular game in which I was playing as catcher. I made a throwing error that allowed the other team to score three runs in the very first inning. Afterwards in the dugout, one of my teammates saw that I was really down on myself. He came over and told me that the sign of an excellent player is how they come back from adversity. I decided then that I would shake off this major blunder and concentrate on helping my team. As things would have it, I got a key hit late in the game that helped my team to come from behind and win the game.
In life I’ve also experienced some slumps, setbacks, and failures. As with baseball, I’ve had to shake off discouragement, refocus my energies, and “get back in the game,” so to speak—because my teammates (family, friends, ministry, and church members) were depending on me. In retrospect, while I was never a great baseball player, the game itself taught me many lessons that I’m still applying today.
With baseball season beginning anew this week, here’s an article I wrote some time ago that explains how I came to love baseball and how the game echoes life itself: “Reflecting on Baseball and Life.”