As summer comes to a close, I find myself reflecting upon the last few months and all its activities. One of my favorite parts of summer is going downtown to watch the minor league baseball games. Baseball, the All-American pastime; this sport goes hand in hand with warm weather, bright sunny days, and great summer food. I was sitting in the ballpark watching the transition between innings and a thought came to me: Americans could never invent another game like baseball.
Why can’t baseball be topped? Baseball is a wonderful game to watch: just see how it requires skill, agility, speed, and impressive hand-eye coordination. But this game is played in bursts. By that I mean that its moments of action are few and far between; for just about all action on the field must first be caused by the batter hitting the ball. Every other motion on the diamond is contingent upon how well this is done. The object of the game for both teams is to win. Only one team can win but they can play decisively so as to better ensure their chance of winning. By this I mean the team reflects upon the strengths of their individual players and they order the batting line-up and the field positions according to the players' strengths. Each player has their own focus while on the field; for example, if their position is outfield, they keep their eyes on the sky staying alert to any fly balls that might be coming their way. An outfielder should not be trying to catch a ball sent to the third baseman; he should be focused on his position and remember why he is out on the field in the first place. As the outfielder ought not to do the job of the third baseman for he would be doing too much, we ought not to set out to accomplish anything and everything just for the sake of ‘work.’ Our country lives in constant motion; Americans try to accomplish a week’s worth of work in the span of a day, all in the name of efficiency. We consistently act as the above mentioned overzealous outfielder.
In a state of constant motion, we cannot slow down and appreciate the more simple things in life. We keep trying to move forward, never ceasing from work because we view work as the only way to express our love to our family. As a culture, we have lost the value of our days off, filling them to the brim with household chores and errands that must be completed. We rush about forgetting the purpose behind what needs to be done; we do not stop for that transition time, that brief moment to recollect and review. When we do not recollect ourselves and ponder the deeper purpose of our tasks and work, then we can hardly be expected to remember why we are doing anything.
We could learn something from the motion of baseball. In between the sprinting, the hitting, and trying to catch the ball to tag the base runner, there is time, quiet, and recollection. A time to evaluate what has been happening, a time to respond to the opposing teams strengths and weaknesses. The players acknowledge what must be done to win. The reason the players run and work hard is because they know what they should do; they respond to what is going on in accord with what they should do. Of course, we should not take a bat to every one of our major problems, but we should slow down, assess, and remember why we are doing what we are doing. For after recollecting ourselves, we are better able to understand the goals of our actions and act accordingly.
Image 1: Batter Up
Image 2: Detroit Tiger Sliding Home