Tag Archives: Baseball

Who are your all-stars?

This week, the biggest stars of Major League Baseball gather in Cincinnati for the All-Star Game; the best of the best of baseball showcasing their skills.

Fantastic baseball players all, but as I followed the events leading up to this event—the stacking of votes by Kansas City Royals fans, and the rally cries from Don Cherry and Stephen Amell (The Arrow) to drum up votes for Josh Donaldson—I wondered: What about life all-stars?

Which people are the best of the best at life?

Taking risks

Pitchers: Who are the people you know who stand alone in the glare of public scrutiny and risk getting things started? Sometimes they win, sometimes they lose, but they’re brave enough to take first steps.

Catchers: Who has the whole “field of play” in view and guides you in calling your “game.” Who always works in your best interest? Who knows the opposition you face and devises strategies to deal with it?

Batters: They aren’t the ones who throw the pitches, but they know how to handle them. Who doesn’t flinch from the fastballs life throws at them? Who chooses to ignore “bad” pitches but makes solid contact with the good ones right down the middle? Who can track those tricky curve balls and make the most of them?

Infielders: Who has your back? Who responds with lightning-quick reflexes to handle the hits that hurtle past you? They can’t handle everything, but they stretch themselves to the limit trying.

Outfielders: Who provides long-range help when you need it? Who covers lots of ground with big strides to keep the longer, slower hits from causing damage?

Who are your all-stars? Do some of those people play more than one position? 

Patrolling right field

Patrolling right field

 

 

 

 

 

Reluctant spring

Our 2015 Ottawa spring has been reluctant indeed.

This past weekend we—at long last—enjoyed a warm, beer-on-the-front-porch kind of day. For the entire month of March and the first days of April, it felt like such days would never come. We sat in the sun and said, “Finally, spring is here.”

When I walk to the bus stop in the mornings now, birds sing. One cardinal calls out, and a cardinal friend responds. Smaller birds twitter. I imagine they are singing, “Finally, spring is here.”

Last night, we Canadians watched another of the sure signs of spring: the home opener of the Toronto Blue Jays. Like Charlie Brown, we have been lying with eyes open, tossing and turning, waiting. Like Charlie Brown, we know that when the day dawns baseball, finally, spring is here.

Peanuts-Charlie-Brown-baseball-sun-600x127

Our city has shrugged off its sluggish blanket of snow, awoken the birds and dawned baseball.

Finally.

(I give credit for the title of this post to Lee Ann Eckhardt Smith who used the phrase in a writing piece she completed at a workshop on the weekend.)

The moving finger writes and having writ, moves on: Don’t get stuck

moving-finger

The moving finger writes,
and having writ
Moves on. Nor all your piety
    or wit
Can lure it back to cancel
    half a line,
Nor all your tears wash
    out a word of it.
—Omar Khayyam

I kept this framed poem in my room at university. The words helped me to let go of things that needed letting go—bad grades, big mistakes, over-indulgences.

Now I’m an older suburban mom, and my moving finger has written a lot. Most lines I wouldn’t choose to cancel. I want to cling to memories of the fresh way my children smelled when they came in from playing in the rain, the sound of my son’s toddler laugh, and the way the sun lit up my daughter’s blond hair when she ran across the park behind our house. I want to stop time and cling to all those joyful things. But I have to let go. The moving finger insists upon it.

Letting go is an acquired, and necessary, skill. I foster it in my son during his baseball games. He’s a pitcher, and if a batter hits a grand slam off one of his pitches, he has to let it go. If not, the rest of the game (and any hope of a pleasant atmosphere in the car on the ride home) is ruined. He has to learn from the experience—which pitches to throw, or not throw, to which batters—and let go.

Everyone who knows me well knows that I idolize Roger Federer, professional tennis player. In my opinion, he is the greatest tennis player in history, and he owes his success to his outstanding skill AND his ability to let go. Never count Federer out of a match. If he misses a shot, he doesn’t dwell on the mistake. He learns from it, lets it go and moves on to success.

We like to cling to things, don’t we? We cling to cherished possessions. That’s fine, unless our house begins to look like an episode of Hoarders. We cling to our children. That’s fine, unless we smother them and prevent them from learning to manage their own lives. We cling to our mistakes. That’s fine, unless we get mired in believing that a mistake defines us and forget to learn the lesson and move on.

Letting go leads to success. We can follow the example of Nelson Mandela who let go of resentments about his years in prison. Without bitterness to stumble over, he moved forward to inspire us to seek justice and peace.

“The best pitchers have a short-term memory and a bulletproof confidence.Greg Maddux

ben-learning

My son – learning