My son had a baseball tournament this past weekend at a park complex that had multiple fields. While we waited for another game to finish so that his team could play, I laid in the grass between two fields. It was a beautiful day and I closed my eyes and laid down in the shade. I wasn’t paying much attention to any of the games around me. I heard random sounds of bats hitting balls, players yelling “I got it” and parents cheering.
A coach’s boundless optimism
As I laid there in a semi-conscious state, I heard a team come off the field as the coach gathered them outside the dugout for the pep talk that coaches give each inning. Once he got them all gathered he said in an encouraging voice “OK, we need 16 to tie and 17 for the lead”.
At first I had to laugh as I looked up at the scoreboard and saw the 17-1 score. Yes, I agreed. Four grand slams and you’re right back in this game. But as I thought about it, I wondered what else would he say? Put your heads down and give up? You guys are pathetic?
With three kids of my own in sports, I’ve found that the most difficult thing to teach them is not the fundamental skills or the rules of the game, but having a positive attitude and keeping your spirits up when your team is behind. It’s always possible to come back. If the other team could score 17 runs, maybe it isn’t boundless optimism to think that you can be capable of achieving the same production? And if they don’t, there‘s always the next game.
It’s easy as a bystander to tell people to have a more positive outlook when things look bleak for them. It’s a whole different story when you are experiencing it firsthand.
Have you ever been in job-search mode and had the umpteenth rejection or non-response from a promising company? If you were fortunate enough to be employed, have you ever had a meeting where the client chewed you a new one? Had a bad performance evaluation? Didn’t get the raise and promotion you thought you deserved? It’s easy to feel like you’re down 17-1 in those situations.
The challenge is to approach it like you can always come back and score 17 more. And if you don’t, you try to succeed next time.
What have you got to lose from trying?
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As always, I welcome your comments and criticisms.