A team, for any sport really, is much more than the eye can see. A team trusts that the next guy will get his job done, that the extra pressure will be avoided. A team doesn’t stress, and add anxiety. A team plays the game with respect because it translates to a team playing the game the right way. Being on board for the right reasons is what brings the character out in a team. It is difficult to have everyone buy into the whole championship chase. I don’t blame them because I was there. I, just like the underclassmen, always had a “next year.”Some guys have their priorities elsewhere, and some might not share the passion you have. That’s not the worst thing in the world, but the more that hop on board the better time you’re gonna have.
It’s ok if you’re reading this and telling yourself that you might be that guy… it really is, because at one point we were all guilty. It takes a special person to push aside all the individual distractions the game of baseball can present and instead play for “us.”Baseball is a game of failure and we all know it. A team is going to fail and we all know that too. The game is easy when things are going the team’s way, but the game gets very difficult when fingers are being pointed and a few bad outings, or plate appearances start piling on and the individual in all of us takes over. I’d be willing to bet there isn’t a guy on a collegiate team in the country that goes out there and tries to walk the house, or K-up every time he comes to the dish. As teammates we know this, and even still disappointment will arise because it’s part of the game. The moaning and groaning is unavoidable, frustration is going to set in, but the short term memory has got to kick in because don’t you know? As soon as you trudge to your position that ball will find you, or strap on the batting gloves and there goes your cookie…you missed it. When you come home after a game, you should be beyond physical fatigue. The fatigue should go as far as mental….(Yogi Berra said something about the game being 90% mental and half physical). The team will always be bigger than you, it isn’t about any one of us…not one. It’s about the next game and playing it like it’s your last but for the right reason.
Simplifying the game of baseball is actually difficult (little bit of an oxymoron….heem). It takes a certain maturity levelfor a person to know their role and do what is best for the team and themselves. It is a game after all (though to some of us it’s a bit more than that) and since it is a game just remember to smile once in a while, and that you are given a gift each day to do something not many get to do. The game of baseball has taught me skills I’ll be able to use in the professional world. It’s brought me quite possibly the best man at my wedding, and an education. The game is much bigger than you. Some of us are gonna have to find a job soon after the game tells us that enough is enough, while few get to actually do this for a living. I’m down to what may be the last 15 or so games I ever get to play at a high level of competition. I shouldn’t think of it like, but that too is a little difficult. I am learning new things every day and have played a part in helping our team be in a position for a potential playoff push. That is exciting in itself and it all starts by preparing for tomorrow.
We have all heard it time and time again, but play that game, that at-bat, or that pitch like it’s your last. Get everyone to buy into it… I know there is another saying out there about playing like someone is seeing you for the first time, seems insightful right? We have made some strides as a team and are buying in one at a time.
Good luck to all the teams down the stretch.This is why we put in all the work for each of us to say we had a hand in putting our TEAM on the map.