Lessons from Baseball: More than a Sport

October 16, 2011
By rymoe95 BRONZE, Eatonville, Washington
rymoe95 BRONZE, Eatonville, Washington
4 articles 0 photos 0 comments

I plant my left foot in place. After scratching the dirt, my right also finds its groove. I wave the bat; once, twice, and a third time. Wiggling my fingers, I find my grip, allowing my hands to feel connected to the rubber handle. It feels heavy. I gently roll the bat out in front of me, and back into position. I settle my heart rate, bend my knees, and stare deeply into the eyes of the pitcher. Nothing can compare to the feeling, the rush, and the excitement. When the bat makes sold contact with that spherical mass of leather, joy fills my soul. I propel myself towards first base, one powerful stride at a time. Suddenly, a million questions flood my mind. Was it far enough? Was it hard enough? Am I fast enough? No. Moments from the safety of that white bag, the ball arrives in view, in the waiting mitt of my opponent. The feelings of failure and disappointment rush throughout me as the umpire cries “out!” Although the inning is over, the game is not. Baseball is a game of challenges, successes, and failures that encompass many components applicable to life.

One important thing that you can note is that baseball is a game of dealing with defeat. Take the batting average of the great Albert Pujols for instance. After playing in the MLB for eleven seasons, he hits at an incredible average of .328. To anybody who knows baseball, this is impressive. Due to this number, his contract with the St. Louis Cardinals gave him $111,000,000 over the past eight seasons. However, take a look at that average again. A .328 batting average means that for every 1000 at bats he has, he gets 328 hits. When we reduce this, Albert Pujols will get a hit 3 out of every 10 times he steps up to bat. But when looked at in a different light, Pujols, arguably the greatest player currently playing baseball, fails 7 out of 10 times!

Now, being a high school student is obviously nothing like the life of a professional, but still, we face similar trials on the field. I’m not an impressive baseball player by any means; I’ll admit that easily. But, what I can do, is bounce back from failure. Sophomore year, I hit for an average of .198. I was able to accept failing 8 out of every 10 attempts, and still kept going. Baseball is the ultimate way to learn resilience.

Baseball is also an incredibly unique sport. Take a look at any other major sport, and you’ll see things in common. Football, basketball, hockey, and even soccer all have their quick, timed, and swift movements in common. Besides minor breaks in play, something will always be moving and the clock will always keep ticking. What we can learn from baseball is the virtue of patience. The field has nine different positions. However, seven of them will rarely make contact with the ball. The pitcher and catcher control the game, and as long as they do their job, the rest of the crew will have little to do. A baseball player must learn to remain focused.

Playing first base, I have very few things hit my direction. I remember a particular game against Bethel High School last summer. During the third inning, I did not touch the ball once. All of the outs were made by either the pitcher or an outfielder catching the ball. It seemed that nothing would be hit my way. Two outs into the fourth inning, this feeling continued. Just when I thought that I may never get the change to make a play, crack! A line drive was sent towards my head, and about a foot higher. With quick reactions, I reached up and snagged that hit, getting an out and preventing a base hit that could even have been a double. I never lost focus. Boredom may have beaten out the patience of a normal kid, but because of baseball, I leaned not only how to draw out my patience, but also how to focus my mind into getting the job done, no matter how quick my reactions must be.

Baseball isn’t always looked upon as the most physical of all sports. Honestly, it does not involve much athleticism or stamina in comparison to the aforementioned popular sports of today’s world. However, what makes it unique is the amount of mental toughness that can be drawn from playing baseball. In my young life, I have learned more from playing baseball in those springs and summers than from any other time in my life. Baseball has built my mental abilities, and taught me so much about being a true person, strengthening my way of life in the world. To me, it’s more than a sport; it’s the classroom of life.

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