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Sunday, November 1, 2015

Playing the long season: winning at baseball, life and relationships.



I know it's vain, but anytime I have a thought which I consider might be remotely profound I write it down.  Usually, just the title.  Obviously, if it hits me hard enough, I tend to write on it immediately.
With baseball season winding down, I thought this one might be appropriate.  

Anyway, in talking to a friend a week ago or so, I realized that playing effective baseball, living a long, productive life and having long and healthy relationships have a few things in common:
  • Usually when each are handled well, they have a long season.  In baseball, only a strike can cut short the long season.  In life, obviously, some people die young, but most live to they are old.  A healthy relationship can last a long time, if not a lifetime.
  • In order to be effective at each, requires a lot of effort or hard work and persistence.  
  • Each require you to make adjustment from time to time.  If a team isn't playing well, the lineup needs to be shaken up or the coaches need to be to find better chemistry.  Life, of course, throws us curve balls that we have to adjust to or risk emotional or physical demise.  It goes without saying in relationships we hit ruts, fall into the same bad patterns.  So, we have to make intentional changes.
  • We sometimes have to be willing to lose in order to win.
The last idea really captured my attention.  It goes like this: we can't go full speed, all out, trying to win at all costs all the time.  We will get burnt out and/or break down if we try to do that.  Each circumstance requires some compromises or sacrifices which in the short term, may lead to more 'losses' or 'discomfort', but in the long term can lead to a "winning season".
  • In baseball, teams intentionally rest their best players from time to time.  This includes intentionally allowing pitchers to skip a start or go with an extra day of rest--leading to a less talented pitcher taking the mound.  In the short term, you might be sacrificing your best opportunity to win a certain game or games during the season--evidenced most obviously when a team rests their best players after clinching the division.  However, in the long run, the team is making sure the players/pitchers are rested appropriately to allow the team to have the most opportunities to win in the most games.
  • In life, sometimes we have to take a break from work, school or other challenges in order to make sure we don't burn out and risk having multiple aspects of our life falling apart.  Some examples are:
    • In school this could mean taking a lesser course load per semester or taking a summer away from school.  This might lengthen to finish up, but might allow us the best possible results.
    • In work, taking time off even when it slows the progress of your work.  In other words, saving your energy for another time. 
  • In relationships, we sometimes have to be willing to let the other person 'win' on their point rather than just arguing or debating the point.  Even if you feel the other is completely wrong, some points are not worth fighting over.  Besides, if you play to 'win' every point, then you risk alienating your partner.  You risk leaving them with the impression that they are always wrong or their views aren't important or ever right.

Anyway, just some food for thought today.  Until next times....