One, Two, Three Strikes You’re Going to be Okay
Hannah Holt - April 12, 2016 5:17 am
There’s a reason that I LOVE baseball season. There’s a reason that I’ve always been attracted to the scent of stale beer and peanuts and dirt. There is something so sacred about entering the diamond on a Friday night, taking in the Buck Night crowd, wearing your ball glove, keeping score, then watching the Friday Night Fireworks with your closest 39,000 friends. But it’s not about the banner drops or the ring ceremonies for me.
For me, the love really started when I was seven. It was the second of about five years that our family owned season tickets (mind you, with a failing program, season tickets were significantly cheaper). I remember having to sit between my mom and dad so my sister and I wouldn’t bicker. It was the place where we were allowed to talk to our neighbors and make friends with the ushers. I remember punching out the All Star Ballots every time with a pen borrowed from mom. The love came that year though, because I started to understand the game. I got why bunting was important, how a centerfielder reads a fly ball and how crucial off speed pitches are to the game. I understood how impossibly hard the game was.
I have found love in the failure of the game. By my own trial in the sport, I quickly found out how mentally and emotionally draining it is to step up to the plate and get a hit every five at bats. It takes a lot of strikeouts, pop flies, groundouts and running mistakes to learn how to really play the game. When I was coaching for Wesleyan, I figured out that the girls that we really wanted on the team were those that were in it for the long haul: the ones that were as quick to start working to correct the committed mistakes as they were to celebrate success.
This is how I work as well. I know that in any given day, I can step up to the plate and just WHIFF. Just go up to the plate, swinging for the fences and absolutely make no sense when the microphone flips on. It isn’t about failing, but how I cope with failure that I hope makes me successful. You can ask Chad; I HATE screwing up. I get astronomically angry with myself for a good 30 seconds to a minute, but really that’s all the time I have to get angry. Softball taught me to have a short fuse and an even shorter memory. I can’t dwell on the mistake, but I can sure as heck make sure that it doesn’t continue to happen by nothing short of just practicing. I’m not joking when I say I practice speaking in the car when I’m running errands. I’ve learned about interviewing skills by just talking to people, listening (and I mean REALLY LISTENING, not just passively nodding my head) and asking them questions about what they just told me. I read out loud to myself to practice enunciation and other skills I lack.
I don’t allow people close to me to fail. I will support and push and work my hardest to make sure they succeed. I help my friends practice and develop into the best people they can be.
If there is any kind of takeaway from baseball: a little practice can go a long ways, have a short memory, and the best way to change the world you live in is to be a good teammate. When you push everyone you know to be the best they can be, no one loses.