Archive For The “softball” Category
My daughter played in a softball tournament for the state championship this weekend. Her team played well, finishing second.
I was proud of my daughter and her team. And, as I’m beginning to discover about almost everything, I learned a valuable lesson along the way.
Her coach asked me to keep the scorebook for the team during the tournament. I was glad to do it. It made me feel like I was contributing to the effort.
As in most tournaments there were rules that teams had to follow. One of them dealt with how many innings a pitcher could pitch. One pitcher could only pitch six innings over any two-game stretch.
In other words, if a pitcher pitched four innings the first game, she could only pitch two in the next game. In the game after that, she could pitch up to four more.
My daughter’s team eventually played seven games in the tournament. They won five, with their only two losses to the team that won the championship.
It was a double-elimination tournament, meaning that you could lose one and keep playing. Lose twice, you go home.
My daughter’s team had three pitchers, but two of them did most of the pitching. One pitcher started every game, pitching three innings in every one. Another pitcher would usually come on in the fourth inning and pitch the rest of the game. Each game was six innings so it worked out well.
But during the first game we lost, our second pitcher pitched less than two innings. The next game, we won with our first two pitchers going three innings each.
The following game, we got a big lead early, so the coach took our top pitcher out after the first inning, thinking he might be able to use her for more innings in the next game if needed. Our second pitcher threw the second, third and fourth innings. When our team was warming up for the fifth inning, I noticed that she was back on the mound.
So I walked over to the coach and told him I didn’t think the pitcher could pitch that inning. The coach immediately walked over to the official scorekeeper, then yelled out to the pitcher to switch positions with our shortstop, who was our third pitcher.
Turns out that if our second pitcher had pitched one pitch in the fifth inning, we would have had to forfeit the game. The coach thanked me numerous times. I was glad to help, and I found a lesson in the situation.
There once was a time when, even if I noticed something like the pitcher issue, I would have said to myself, “The coach knows what he’s doing. He wouldn’t want me getting in his business.” My self-confidence was so low, I would have automatically assumed that I was wrong.
If I would have done that this time, my daughter’s team would have needlessly lost a game they were comfortably winning.
So the lesson I learned is to speak up. Many times in network marketing, I hesitate to talk about my business because people have a negative feeling about the business.
Those of us in network marketing need to set an example and speak up when someone speaks ill of our profession.
Unfortunately, some people have given MLMs a bad name. It’s time we started getting out the good word about how much our profession can help people. This word will spread when our actions back up what we say.
When I was young, I loved to play sports. Basketball was my favorite, but I liked other games, too.
Most of the games I played were pick-up games in the backyard or in the street. One of my friends even painted yard lines on our street so we could play football.
But I also played some organized sports. Some of my favorite memories came from playing church-league basketball and softball games.
One year, my cousin’s father, Jack Llull, said that he’d coach our softball team. Now, most of the guys on the team were pretty decent athletes, but I didn’t think we were going to be that great.
That year I found out how much difference a coach can make. Mr. Llull knew softball (and I found out later most every sport) like no one I’d ever known.
He’d pay attention to the smallest details. When a player on the other team hit the ball we always had them played perfectly. It seemed like they’d always hit the ball right where we were playing.
When we were at bat, Mr. Llull had a rule. We could never hit until we had a strike and we could never hit if we had three balls and only one strike.
There was only one exception to the rule. We could hit away when Mr. Llull, who always coached third base, would say, “Now’s the time.”
I loved it when I’d come up to hit and I’d look down at Mr. Llull and he’d say, “Now’s the time, Steve.“
I’d almost always get a great pitch to hit. I was so excited, I usually knocked the tar out of the ball. I think I hit better that year than ever.
One day I asked Mr. Llull why he only let us hit like that in certain situations. When he explained it, I understood it immediately.
When he was coaching third base, Mr. Llull was studying the pitcher. He first determined whether or not the pitcher could control where he pitched it.
If the pitcher didn’t have much control, we had to keep waiting until we got a strike to hit it. We usually walked a lot, which helped us score runs.
But sometimes, the pitcher was pretty good and could pitch strikes and balls whenever he wanted. After a while the pitcher would start figuring out that we were never swinging until we got a strike. So he’d start grooving the first pitch down the middle trying to get ahead in the count.
That was when we’d hear Mr. Llull say, “Now’s the time.”
I didn’t realize it at the time, but Mr. Llull taught me about more than just softball.
First I learned to be observant.
I had played a lot of softball and had never paid much attention to what the pitcher was doing until I got up to bat. It didn’t occur to me that what happened to the batter before me or even several batters before me might impact what the pitcher pitches to me.
In life, opportunities sometimes come along in unexpected ways. If we’re not paying attention, we might miss them. We can learn from our mistakes, but we can also learn from our successes. And we can learn from the experiences of others.
Next, I learned that there are times to be patient and there are times to act.
We were always excited to hear the words that meant we could swing, but often it was just as important that the batters before us had walked because they didn’t swing when they shouldn’t have.
There are times in life when planning and analysis are needed. But there are also times to act, times to move forward and do what needs to be done.
Finally, I learned how everything fits together in softball and in life. That year, we won the regular season softball championship. We didn’t have the best players, but we were the best team.
In life, we often get too focused on ourselves and our situations. To be successful, it takes a team. As we help others, we often help ourselves.
After that year, I was a better softball player and a better person.
Coach Llull, I never told you that, and now it seems like I might not get that chance. I’ve got a feeling you knew anyway.
I got home a short while ago from my daughter’s softball game. We won, 5-0, defeating the #1 team in the state.
After the game, I was talking with one of the coaches about how well our girls had played. I told her that I thought our defense was the difference.
She didn’t disagree, but added that it was more than just defense. Our girls played as a team.
As I thought back on the game, I saw that she was right.
When there was a play at first, our right-fielder was hustling over behind the first baseman to back up the throw. (I might add that she was doing a great job of it and not just because she’s my daughter.)
When a member of the other team bunted, all our infielders yelled, “Bunt!” Everyone knew just where to go. Our first and third basemen charged toward the batter, while our second baseman ran over to cover first. It was smooth, clean — like clockwork.
When one of our players was at bat, other players were yelling encouragement. In the field, everyone was talking to each other, letting each other know the number of outs and where the next play was to be made.
Isn’t this a lot like our business and a lot like life.
Success in business comes much easier to those supported by a team. When we share our gifts, it’s to everyone’s betterment.
It’s good to know that when you’re trying to get somewhere, someone is there backing you up.
What a great feeling to know that others who have taken the road to success are willing to show you the way.
How wonderful to hear encouragement from others that you can be successful, that they believe in you.
I’m thrilled to say I’ve found just such a team. If you’d like to know more, go to this link. Your teammates are waiting for you.
This free e-book helped me learn the value of teamwork.