By Nate Irving, Pittsburgh Pirates Minor League System
We are all in pursuit. The hit, the throw, the catch, the run. You feel the excitement, the adrenaline, the focus, run through your veins. And then suddenly it is gone. There is something uniquely mortal about the game of baseball. Yet there is something special in the lessons that can be taught through a game that will always breed more failure than it will success. Our challenge is to never accept, never relinquish, and never cease from the pursuit of the success we want. And if we allow it, we will not only “make it” in this game, but the game will “make us”.
While we grow as players, we also grow as people. This game teaches us not only how to be better competitors, but also how to be better human beings. It is in the face of adversity that we grow, it is in the investment of our team and fellow competitors that we grow, it is in the face of great opportunity that we grow, and most of all it is in the jubilation of success that we grow. However our cards are dealt, the game of baseball will always teach us something about ourselves, and about life. Our challenge is to accept those lessons unconditionally.
“Every day is a new opportunity. You can build on yesterday’s successes or put its failures behind and start over. That’s the way life is, with a new game every day, and that’s the way baseball is.” -Bob Feller
There is always another pitch. And when there are outs left, there is always hope. And when there aren’t any outs left, there is always tomorrow. As players, we are taught to see opportunity in each moment, hope in each opportunity, and possibility in each new experience. Whether we have nine innings and twenty seven outs in a game, or twenty four hours to make the most of the day we are given, our approach to the game of baseball teaches us how to make the most of the each moment. There is no last pitch, there is no next pitch, there is only this pitch. And in life there is no yesterday, and there is no tomorrow, without today. We will only “make it” when we are able to stop in the moment and realize where we are, how far we have come, and exactly where we want to go. Our pursuit never stops, and maybe the next time we stop to look around, we will have “made it” even further.
“Baseball is like a poker game. Nobody wants to quit when he’s losing; nobody wants you to quit when you’re ahead” -Jackie Robinson
What if we saw “making it” not as the object we desire, but as the passion that burns inside of us to achieve greatness. Often we are reminded that we are given an opportunity to chase our dreams, and that opportunity will not live forever. The game that we love is filled with failure, but it is the same feeling of failure that pushes each and every one of us towards our triumphs. When life presents us with hardships, we fight. Because that's how we've been conditioned. The same ballplayer that fights when adversity is on the horizon, is the same person who lifts others up when life deals unfavorable cards. What if “making it” is the relentless pursuit that evolves us as players, and as beings.
And when we are no longer able to play this wonderful game of enchanting obstacle and excitement, we will be able to look back on the people we have become, and say that we “made it”, but also that the game “made us”.