For starters it was a great open, now we’ve got 161 games and seven months to work on the close – a world championship.
Opening Day in Baltimore @ Oriole Park at Camden Yards really couldn’t have gone much better. From touching tributes to those members of the Orioles family lost during the off-season, to the first-pitch strike under a gorgeous blue sky, on a perfectly manicured diamond illuminated in sunlight, you couldn’t ask for more.
Except maybe a victory. For O’s fans, a 2-1 win over the Boston Red Sox is always worth it, on Opening Day it’s even more meaningful, unless of course it’s a head-to-head battle in the postseason. Let’s hope.
That’s a quick summary of how it all began, but what about the game, the game of life and baseball?
The similarities are impossible to ignore, the synergy is on most days, off-the-charts. For starters, baseball is quite literally the greatest soap opera in sports. No other professional game is played almost every day for six months. The drama inside those nine innings, one without a clock, is on most days a rollercoaster ride of moments from base hits, to home runs, to stolen bases, to acrobatic catches, to a difference in inches defining a pitch as either a ball or a strike. How many days of our lives (a soap opera right?), are much the same, with little moments, or even bigger ones making up a significant part of the ebb and flow of our time spent working, or spending time with family and friends. No two days are alike, no two games are the same.
And it’s a marathon, not a sprint. The baseball season is a long one, which can become tedious at times, and at others provide such incredible excitement and elation it’s hard to describe. Ever have your own six-month period of time, or a year like that? But it’s also the big moments, the ones which take your breath away which are rarer still – the grand slam, a player hitting for the cycle, a no-hitter, or the perfect game. A lot of time and attention is paid to those moments, just like the special ones in your own life: birth, weddings, funerals, anniversaries, milestone birthdays, graduations, big awards, your own sporting achievements or championships, or those of your children. Each one a moment to be remembered and for which attention should be paid, before the next day comes and life keeps moving forward.
And what about success? Baseball is a lesson in overcoming failure, it’s practice, perseverance and battling through the obstacles which helps you to be the best, to stand out. The smallest margins can make you a hero, get you into the hall of fame. Hitting .300 means only 3 hits out of every 10 times up to the plate. A pitcher who is a 20-game winner means that player might have lost half as many as he won. The game of baseball does not allow you to have constant, uninterrupted success for truly long periods of time, it’s just the way the game is built. Life does the same. Rarely is there a long run of “luck”, before some type of adversity, an obstacle, a bad day, or a slump, levels the playing field. But fight through it, be consistent, focus on your true talents, work in service to others, as a team with the most important people in your life and you too will rise to the top.
The beginning of a new baseball season is underway. Use it to take stock of your own life, to focus on your successes, to battle through your failures, to learn from your mistakes, to strive for consistency and productivity to become an all-star in the eyes of those who matter most to you. Make your own life a diamond, a shining example to be remembered for all time.
Now get out there and play ball!
Until next time, thanks for taking the time.
Mark Brodinsky, Author
It Takes 2. Surviving Breast Cancer: A Spouse’s Story
#1 Amazon Best-Seller
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