Lessons from Baseball – New Beginnings

The way athletes, especially baseball players, approach each new season is a lesson for all of us. They start fresh, renewed with hopes of becoming champions — no matter what happened last year.

Every year, when Baseball season ends, I feel a little bit down. Not truly depressed, but there is an “empty space” in my life for a few months where Baseball used to be. I watched a baseball game almost every day for over six months and now it’s gone. (I’m glad they have started the Baseball Network, where I can go get a little “fix” by watching some classic baseball games once in a while.)

My favorite team – the Colorado Rockies made it to the post-season, but were eliminated by the Phillies in the first round. The beginning of the let down.

The season is done. I know how it ends.

When the season began all fans were full of hope for the possibilities. For the fans of 29 of the 30 baseball teams, the season ends with a disappointment. For one team and its fans, the season ends spectacularly — they win the World Series.

I know you could say this is true in all sports, and of course it is. But baseball is so much more of a “slog” than other sports. Six weeks of Spring Training (30 games in one month) followed by 162 regular season games — six months of games almost every day. Most teams only have 12 days off — roughly two days per month for that six month period. And they play half the games away from home, so there is lots of travel, sleeping in hotels, sometimes getting into the hotel at 3 AM and reporting to the ballpark by 10 AM the same day to prepare for a game.

For eight lucky teams there is more baseball after the 162 games in the form of the post season which will extend from about one week (3 to 5 games) to over three weeks (8 to 14 games), depending on who wins each series and how quickly.

By the end of the season they are weary, bone tired, their muscles are strained, their knees and shoulders hurt, their arms are “dead” and many need surgery or medical intervention of some sort. They badly need rest and rejuvenation. Some will hibernate and lick their wounds. Some will go play winter ball in Latin America.

And next February they will show up to Spring Training again, forgetting about last year, almost as if it never happened. Ready to begin anew. All are hopeful that this year will be special, full of the magic that comes with a great baseball season.

They’ll take conditioning training, exercise, run wind sprints, take batting and fielding practice and play approximately 30 games in March. Some guys are trying to make the team. Some are trying to become regular starters. They are full of energy and dreams of becoming World Champions. At that point

For the die hard fans of the Chicago Cubs (of which I am one), “Wait till next year” has become their mantra. It’s been 100 years since they won a World Series. They are in the longest dry spell between World Championships in all of professional sports. Every year the Cubs and their fans start a new season full of inspiration, promise and renewal. They forget about last season (or the last 100 seasons) and hold out hope for the new season.

The eternal optimism that it takes to show up for a new season or buy season tickets is something we can all use. Don’t let the past determine your future. The past is gone. The past has no power — unless you decide to re-energize it by dwelling on it.

The present is your moment of power. Use your NOW to dwell on your wonderful possibilities. Put more attention on what can be than on what is or was. Take a cue from baseball. Begin your own new season.

Copyright © 2009 by Victoria Young