Sports and Lessons Learned

 

Baseball and softball is underway in parks all over America. It’s this time of the year I’m reminded of a story a high school baseball coach told his team the day before a tournament. It was a story of a person who was not well. The person was bed ridden for several weeks and since he loved playing golf, decided to rest in his bed dreaming about playing rounds of golf. In his dreams, he would always see himself hitting the perfect shot. This went on for several weeks as he played rounds of golf in his head. When he got over his sickness several weeks later, he was able to go out to the golf course and shoot his best round of golf ever.

 

One of the coach’s players applied this story to baseball. That night, preparing for the game the next day, he dreamed about seeing the ball clearly and hitting the ball solid. He visualized a pitcher leaning, starting a wind up, and rocking back to deliver the ball; then seeing the pitcher’s arm whip over his head to deliver the pitch. He was so focused, even the seams of the ball were vivid and the ball seemed bigger than usual. He could see it coming into the strike zone and he visualized striding into the ball with all his weight. Then he started his swing and met the ball solid.

 

 

The next day at batting practice, the player could tell something was different. What he had dreamed about the night before was becoming real. The ball was jumping off the bat. The game started and everything felt perfect for his first at bat of the day. It also helped that the wind was blowing from home plate to right field. The first pitch was a ball outside so he knew the pitcher would probably throw him a fastball right down the plate. The ball came towards home plate and it was almost in slow motion. The player met the ball with perfect timing, the ball jumped off the bat, the wind carried the ball, and it kept going over the right field fence.

 

Even today the player remembers what the ball looked like coming towards the plate. It looked just like the picture above. You see, the player was me; my first home run. The lesson in thinking about this is that if you can imagine something happening in your mind, dream about it, and believe it can happen, there’s a much better chance it will.

 

Why do I write about this? Because I believe that this same concept of seeing, believing, and achieving on the baseball or softball field can be applied to life. Think of the businesses and organizations where this concept is used. The computer became a part of everyone’s life when companies developed software that allowed users to interact by entering information and graphically displaying useful and meaningful information on the screen. They could interact with the system, see it work right in front of their eyes, and achieve their work in a very efficient way.

 

Many churches today use multi-media in the worship service to help communicate God’s message. Communication and teaching is always enhanced when more of the person’s senses are involved in the learning process. The message being taught is not only communicated by sound but is also being displayed on a screen using words and images. Both sides of the brain get involved in the learning process and the student has a much better chance to see, believe, and achieve what is being taught.  

 

The concept becomes even more meaningful when young people see good role models in parents, grandparents, teachers, and leaders. They start to model that behavior. They start to believe in that way of living. They build a winning tradition and increase their chances of achieving their dreams.

 

Going to softball games of my daughter Ashlee (batting in the picture below), brings back those fond memories of playing baseball growing up.

 

 

Yes, in baseball and softball games across America, it’s good to hear those encouraging words as players step up to the plate.

 

 “Keep your eye on the ball” – “See it” – “See it” – “You can do it”. 

 

If you are a mentor, parent, or grandparent, share lessons from your experiences so the next generation is prepared for their journey through life.

 

 

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About Mark Shields

Mark works in the Information Systems Department for an Insurance Company. He volunteers as a member of the media ministry team at his church and runs the 10:50 worship service computer. A few years ago, he started an on-line Bible study guide called “This Day with God Devotional”. He uses this as a tool in his journey through the Bible. We live in a very busy world with busy schedules so this tool has helped him continue with daily Bible reading and study. You’re invited to join him on this journey or check in every so often to read his thoughts.
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