Sunday, March 20, 2011

Life Lessons

It is the first day of Spring.  This makes me happy.  That means a new season of baseball is nearly here.  This really makes me happy.  I can't help but harken back to my Little League baseball days.  My first baseball coach was Mr. Gingrich.  I was eight years old.  At the time, it was just a game to me… something fun to do.  Little did I know that I’d be writing about it decades later.  Nor did I think that those times would be so influential to me.  But they were.  I feel lucky to have had Mr. Gingrich as my Coach.

Here are some of the things he said to our team and the lessons I learned from him:

Keep your chin up.
That is what he would say after I struck out or made an error. I learned that there is no value in self-pity or feeling sorry for myself. Instead, think about what I can do next time to make the outcome better. Then move on and forget about it. How often do we have a ‘woe is me’ attitude or stew over a set back?

Let’s hear some chatter out there!
He would holler this out to us when we were in the field. He wanted us to support one another. It kept my head in the game and focused on the action. Let’s face it, when you are eight years old and standing in the outfield it is easy to watch the bees buzz about the clover or watch the clouds pass overhead. Mr. Gingrich wanted us to cheer and encourage our teammates. I learned that I could count on others and they could count on me for positive feedback. Too often, it seems, we can be critical of others when there is no need.

We’ll get ‘em next time.
That is what Mr. Gingrich would say when we lost.  No only if’s.  No blaming or finger-pointing.  No sulking.  No punishments.  Instead, just learn from your performance and try to improve the next time out.

Hustle up out there.
He wanted us to run onto the field, off the field, and on the base paths. No walking or dogging it. Anyone who did would find themselves sitting on the bench or in the dugout. The lesson I learned was to put forth a worthy effort and perform to my ability. There was a right way to play the game and he set the expectations for us to follow. Hustle.

Who shaped you into what you are today? Did anyone leave an indelible mark on you? What lessons have you learned which you carry within yourself today?

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