Sometimes people marvel at our family’s devotion to baseball. We’re not the sports type, though spending all day on a field in the sun certainly suits our line of work.
This past week, while reeling from the death of our dog, I listened to a game. It was our team pitted against a team that just didn’t stand a chance and the score was in the double digits for runs. Following, our baseball friends asked, “Did you catch the game? Wasn’t that great?!” Yes, great. But not the kind of game I enjoy.
I recognize my passion for baseball is not for the sport, but for the hidden metaphor.
Two teams of people pitted for an outcome of often narrow successes. In the case of the sweep, one team has a clear advantage, but without the pressure, players are less honed and fewer exciting plays are made.
We love baseball because life closely follows.
This past week, as we struggled to cope with the tragic death of our dog, we looked for meaning. The decision to sell the house did not come lightly, but it did come swiftly in the moments following the accident. And with it, the game changed.
As a family, we drew on those inherent strengths to persevere. We allowed ourselves to evaluate and understand our opponent, honing our own skills to stay ahead of defeat. The plays were from the gut, from the heart, the kind of burying ninth-inning-style wins that provide the stuff of legend.
We can revel now in the closeness we feel to the win, the loss, and that balance of the two that helps breathe enthusiasm into every moment, each challenge, and draw out those strengths we hold close until the last inning. It’s then, when it no longer matters whether we were the last to bat in a run, but that we got up to bat and in those moments ignored the roar of the crowd for the felled swoosh of the ball leaving the pitcher’s hand. A kind of slowing down of time and narrowing of focus. And the opportunity to step up and salvage what remains.
That’s not baseball; it’s life. And it’s not an easy lesson, but a good one.