Life lessons at the Diamondbacks game
Last Friday night, I had the opportunity to take my oldest daughter to her first Major League baseball game between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Colorado Rockies. Little did I know that in the midst of watching a baseball game, she would learn a valuable lesson about a much more important game – the game of life.
Midway through the fifth inning, or six handfuls of popcorn into the team wearing the white jersey’s turn to bat, depending on whose perspective you’re taking, the umpire made a questionable call at second base. Up until this point, Emerson’s interest in the game was lukewarm at best. However, when the collective “boos” rang out from the home crowd, it suddenly piqued her interest. She quickly sat up and asked me, “Daddy, why are they booing?”
“Well, the umpire decided to call the Diamondback runner out at second base, but the fans don’t think it should be an out.”
Ten minutes later, after a thorough review of the play (via instant replay), the umpire chose to uphold his call. The boos reached an entirely new level. A level that caused Emerson to cover her ears, almost immediately.
Although the fans jeering seemed to subside with each successive inning, there were a handful of people behind us who weren’t about to stop. Clearly concerned about their well-being, Emerson turned to me and asked a question that served as a beautiful teachable moment – “Dad, why can’t they just let it go? That guy already called him out.”
Here’s how our conversation ensued.
“Great question! In fact, I want you to look at the Diamondback players on the field. Do you think they’re spending any time thinking about the questionable call?”
“Exactly, they don’t want to carry a bunch of negative energy into the rest of the game. It would probably affect how they play, right?”
“Yeah, I just don’t understand why these people behind us can’t just let it go.”
“Well, they’re spending all of their time and energy trying to be right. Their boos are a sign of letting the umpire know that he was wrong. How do you think those people are feeling right now?”
“Exactly. Is anger an emotion you want to hold onto?”
“No, I want to let it go.”
“Emerson, you just learned one of the most valuable lessons about life. Just as the umpire made a questionable call and it didn’t go the way the players wanted it to, you will always have things in the game of life that don’t go the way you want them to. You can either give all of your power to what happened (the bad call), or you can focus your energy on choosing the most effective response to what happened (letting it go). Learning to let it go is an effective response that will allow you to maintain confidence and hope throughout the rest of the game. Just look at the players. The reason they’re still hitting the ball and making plays is because they chose not to give their power to the umpire’s call.”
At this point, she gave me one of those – Dad, why do your conversations always have to be so deep – looks, but I think she got the point.
Some people say that success is about what you know, while others say it’s about who you know. I say it’s about how quickly you “let go.”
You see, mental toughness is a skill that transcends the game of baseball. I truly believe that successful people, regardless of their profession, remain committed to staying mentally strong in the face of adversity.
I invite you a read an article I recently found, which outlines 13 things mentally strong people don’t do. How are you shaping up with regard to these 13 things? If the answer is “not very well,” it’s time to get back in the game – the game of life, that is.