My son and I are going to our first baseball game of the season next week when the Angels take on the Blue Jays. Baseball remains my favorite sport. It’s my favorite to watch. It’s my favorite to play, even though I wasn’t good at it. Most importantly, baseball offers life lessons. Here are nine (as in innings) life lessons I’ve learned from baseball.
- Baseball is an heirloom. My mom introduced it to me as a child, just as her father introduced it to her. I then passed it on to our children. Like all heirlooms, the value we get from baseball are the memories we create. My mom going to Gilmore Field to watch her Hollywood Stars before the Dodgers came to town. The times I spent playing catch with my son when he was in Little League. This is what makes baseball special to us.
- Baseball offers tradition and change. It’s the same sport it has been for the last century or so. Three outs, four balls, three strikes, nine innings, and nine players on the field. You can watch old black-and-white movies from games in the 1950s, and they will make sense. But so much has changed over the years. Uniform styles. Expansion. Relocation. Universal DH. (My mom turned in her grave when it came to the National League.) Baseball can stay true to the basics and adapt to the times.
- Sports can be an engine for change. We recently rewatched 42 about Jackie Robinson. We forget how significant he was in the civil rights movement. Breaking the color barrier in baseball gave impetus to breaking barriers in other parts of society. Given current situations, it’s a lesson we need to revisit.
- Baseball teaches endurance. With a 162-game season spread over 7 months, a lot can happen. Key players get injured. A rookie suddenly finds his stride. A mid-season trade can shake up an entire pennant race. You can’t get discouraged when you hit a slump or overconfident when you get on a hot streak. You must play for the long haul.
- Winning doesn’t automatically guarantee success, and losing doesn’t mean failure. Last year, the team with the best winning record was the San Francisco Giants. They still lost 55 games, and they only won 66% of the time. And they didn’t even go to the World Series. The 2021 World Series winner was the Atlanta Braves who beat three other teams that had more wins than they did. The…