Archive | October 2014

Baseball and Making Tough Calls

BaseballLast night, I watched the 7th game of the World Series. I’ve enjoyed this series immensely.

Do you remember the first MLB labor strike in 1972? I love baseball, but somehow the heart of the game was cut out of me that year, even though the Detroit Tigers won their division.

At the time, I wasn’t sure as a 26-year-old young man, why the impact of that strike did so much to dishearten me. I had bought into the significance of what the game taught me about life. As a kid, I purchased thousands of baseball cards and bubble gum, played little league baseball, Babe Ruth baseball, high school baseball and had a desire to be a pro player one day.

During that MLB strike, my dreams and fantasies about playing pro ball were shattered. I think I tried to make up for the loss by coaching small college baseball. Maybe I thought I could recover some of the game’s grandeur by coaching athletes.

In this year’s World Series, I watched players and coaches closely. I still love the game and have been associated in one way or another with pro athletes over the years. But something happened to me as I watched this years WS.

To me, the greatness of what the game meant—how important character is, bouncing back from mistakes or defeat, understanding the impact an athlete can have on kids, leadership on the field, and making tough calls—was resurrected. The managers and coaches for San Francisco and Kansas City carried themselves in that way. The players left it all out there on the field.

In an article on Yahoo: The Royals Explain Why They Didn’t Go For The Inside-The-Park Home Run In The Bottom Of The 9th we see an example of men owning their call. In a manner of fact way, the explanation was given. There was no excuse, no twisted thinking, frankly no right or wrong and the honor of the game was reinforced.

The mystery of an uncertain moment was embraced and backed up by the third base coaches’ manager, as well as the player about to round the base. Real men do that. They enter uncertainty to make the call and own it.

Defeat for Kansas City didn’t mean failure to me. Not when the integrity and glory of the way the game used to be played was restored during this series.

Oh, and one more thing. It was fun to watch.

The Control Factor

The Control FactorHere’s a principle practiced on a daily basis by humanity though not all are conscious of it. I call it The Control Factor.

Whoever defines the problem gets to control the process.

It’s an eye opener isn’t it? Frankly, that principle flies under the radar of most people in today’s world and instead of love being what makes the world go around, this principle seems to be what does.

Whether it’s about governments, businesses, significant relationships and even faith-based systems, to me, it seems this principle is driving how the process of each entity moves.

There’s so much willful and purposeful redefinition happening all around us.

Who is responsible for law making and when, the State or Federal government? Who is responsible for raising children, parents or others outside the home? Who is responsible for shaping how we see the world and problem solving? What is the authority to define what happens in eternity after we die? Who determines how the American Ryder Cup team should play? When is race a legitimate issue or when is it used to control others for agenda reasons? How do executive decisions get made if it seems to go against history, tradition, or documented agreements? How does saying I’m being led by God become suspect when there are divisions among a people led by a leader who uses that phrase to control what goes on in the community of faith-based people? What really is the authority to define how I do relationships? How I can get to heaven? Who says it’s cancer and who says it isn’t cancer? How do children try to define their problems in a check out line at the grocery store and if not heeded, look out?

Again, whoever defines the problem gets to control the process. In every area of life, we see this principle being activated, don’t we?

When is being in control legitimate and when is it illegitimate? If we take love and respect for others out of the equation, I think we should be able to determine the answer.

Granted, the Control Factor is a part of living in this world. I think using this principle, coming from a baseline of love for others, can be powerful, wonderful and healing. Using this principle as the baseline for conducting relationships is self-serving, destructive and twisted.

My goal today! Defining the problem regarding the motivations of our heart. Where that’s coming from determines where it will go. Thoughts?

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