Baseball: the only sport that reflects real life
Every spring the “Summer boys” celebrate the “Great American pastime.” As I watched the Padres and Dodgers face off today, I was struck by the similarity between baseball and the way our society works.
Perhaps that is why, as other sports gain in popularity, baseball still retains its popularity and historical significance after more than 100 years. It reflects each of us and how we live our lives.
“It’s as American as ‘Mom and Apple Pie.’ One of the most famous baseball comedies of all time is, “Who goes first” by the Abbott and Costello comedy team.
Baseball and life
Baseball, like life, has no clock. No time limit or “sudden death” overtime. You know there is an end to the game, but never exactly when … like life. He may be way behind on the scoreboard, get a death sentence, but he can bounce back and come back to survive another inning or even win in the end. In baseball, as in life, we often fight harder in the last inning of the game.
Balls and strikes
In baseball, as in life, you have multiple chances to succeed. For nine innings you should get four at-bats, and you’ll get four balls and three strikes and a ton of fouls. I think it’s interesting that if you can’t hit safely 70% of the time, you can end up in the hall of fame. As in life, we often have more failures than successes. But in baseball, as in life, it’s those failures that make us better and stronger to be better competitors the next day.
Individuals and teams
In baseball, as in life, you can excel individually and you can also excel as part of a team. Tinker to Evers to Chance was a famous trio of infielders for the Chicago Cubs. Shortstop Joe Tinker, second baseman Johnny Evers and first baseman Frank Chance made their first double play in 1902 and were immortalized in a poem.
Hiring a great client in life is like taking one out of the park and winning the big game – an individual effort. Marketing, advertising, and sales teams working together can have a winning season or very profitable year – a team effort.
In baseball, as in life, we are sometimes asked to make sacrifices for the good of the group. In baseball, the sacrifice bunt is used to advance runners. A sacrifice fly with fewer than two outs can score a runner from third base. Parents can do without many material things to save for the education of their children. Sometimes you do the work and someone else gets the glory.
In baseball, as in life, there are police. The baseball cops are the umpires. Unlike in life, referees are exposed to stealing quite frequently. Stealing bases is not only okay, it is encouraged in baseball as well. And, like the police in real life, sometimes they miss a call and call someone who was really safe. But that’s life and that’s why we love baseball.
Last but not least, in baseball, as in life, you score when the opposing team controls the ball. In life, we find ourselves trying to achieve greatness while others control the ball in our workplace, school, or military service. Sometimes it seems like the other team really wants you to fail. And sometimes, at work or in society, it can seem like everyone wants to get you.
But in baseball, as in life, those who succeed at either find a way to overcome the obstacles that come their way. Hitting the baseball or hitting the books can bring success.
So when I wake up every morning and look my workday in the eye, a little voice inside me screams: “PLAY BALL!”