Reflections from the Home Team 2-3-18
"It wasn't until later that I started to appreciate and understand that success is just as much about mindset and mental toughness as it is about the physical… I then began to realize that no matter what our shape, size or situation, we all have the ability to remain ‘steady’ by living in the present and always ‘being where our feet are’ whenever we are faced with life’s challenges!”
Greetings from Cedar Falls!
It’s that special time of year for me when baseball begins to enter my mind as pitchers and catchers are preparing to report to spring training. That’s always a good distraction from the cold and blustery days of winter here in Iowa as well as what can be some of the doldrums that set in when dealing with side effects of treatments. One thing that has kept me warm and steady over the winter months are the memories that the 2017 playoffs and World Series have provided. Two of my favorite players last fall included Jose Altuve of the Houston Astros and Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees.
Jose Altuve led the AL in batting (.346), hits (204) and heart while earning his fifth All-Star Game berth in seven seasons. The 5-foot-6 Venezuelan also had 39 doubles, 81 RBIs, a .410 on-base average, stole 32 bases and played a stellar second base. Only Ty Cobb, Pete Rose and Hank Aaron had more hits than Altuve at their age.
At 6-foot-7 and 282 pounds, Aaron Judge is the young giant of the group who took New York by storm with a monster rookie season, leading the league with 52 homers, 128 runs and 127 walks. The outfielder from Linden, Calif., also got on base a league-leading 286 times and hit a home run every 10.4 at-bats, leading the ‘rebuilding’ Yankees to the ALCS.
Once you take away the natural talent and genetics that both players possess, it seems to me that what makes both Jose and Aaron stand out from the rest revolve around the fact that they commit to and master the fundamentals, even when nobody's watching… They execute the little things with excellence every single day. They focus on the process and never skip steps. They each have a positive mindset, and a determined work ethic. Probably most importantly, when those ‘bumps in the road’ happen along the way, they both live in the present moment, not dwelling on the past and not worrying about the future over which they have no control. I witnessed that from both throughout the regular season and playoffs. How’s that for a life plan!!
After spending nearly four decades working in the game of baseball and observing pros like Jose and Aaron, it seems to me that these ‘fundamentals’ can be applied to ourselves as we face the challenges that life may present us. I’d be hard pressed not to say that many of the lessons I’ve learned in my life have come from my involvement in sports as both a player and a coach. Sports are one of the best teachers we have. As a player, I was fortunate to have mentors who placed a real focus on teaching me to work hard, be accountable and kind, be a good teammate, and to positively contribute to the world. As a coach, I tried to do the same for those I had the opportunity to influence as my players.
I see those qualities present in both Jose and Aaron along with the unique physical skill sets each bring to the game. I believe it is those above-mentioned skills however that both athletes and non-athletes can appreciate. Often, we tend to focus on only ‘physical’ qualities when challenges come our way. When crisis comes, many of us determine to buckle down, to believe that grit and fortitude will be enough to weather the storm. It wasn't until later that I started to appreciate and understand that success is just as much about mindset and mental toughness as it is about the physical… I then began to realize that no matter what our shape, size or situation, we all have the ability to remain ‘steady’ by living in the present and always ‘being where our feet are’ whenever we are faced with life’s challenges!
Try as we might to avoid them, crises will come for us in this life. We are not alone because of the “teammates” we all have on each our journeys, both human and divine. When I was in crisis mode during treatments, the physical presence, help, and listening ear of others was critical for me. Never have I been so aware of the beauty of the body of Christ as I have been when I was dependent upon others to help care for me, to support my family, and to pray and believe for me when I was losing my grip on the ability to do so for myself.
Whatever our need - physical, spiritual, financial, emotional, relational – God’s Truth reminds us that He's got ‘this thing’, whatever it is, that concerns you.
Wishing all a wonderful day as we ease into change, walking from one season to the next. God is so creative, He seized the opportunity to create a time for the beauty of transition!
Are you or someone you know fighting cancer... struggling with the physical, emotional and spiritual issues that accompany a cancer journey? If so, Reflections from the Home Team... Go the Distance was written to offer strength, hope and comfort when confronted with a cancer journey's challenges. Share a message of positivity with those you care about. Learn more about the book at this link: