When I speak of diamonds, I refer to a baseball diamond instead of the precious gem. And when I speak of the rough, I refer to the three inch blades of St. Augustine grass that inhabit our backyard after a week of summer rain in Florida. In this rough lives our own personal field of dreams.
I am passionate about baseball. I have been since I was a young boy in little league. Playing the game until I was close to eighteen years old, it provided me with many exciting moments and valuable lessons. Lessons that I am still absorbing today.
I am not going to pontificate on the high morals present in any sport. Unfortunately, there are misguided and fraudulent individuals from all walks of life. Baseball is no exception. But, there are those that play the game the “right” way with energy, passion, and integrity. Just as in everyday life, we can choose to focus on the positive or the negative. I choose the positive.
Regardless of whether you are a baseball fan, or a sports fan at all, there is much that can be taken away from this American pastime that originated over 150 years ago. Baseball is one of the few games that has no time limit. Regardless of how far behind you trail in the pursuit of a win, there is always a chance. There is always hope. It is the eternal optimist’s game of choice.
In light of that feeling of hope, consider this fact. The most prolific hitter in baseball history is Ty Cobb who carried a .366 batting average into the Hall of Fame, the highest honor bestowed upon a major league baseball player. Think about the implications behind this statement. A person fails more than six times out of every ten tries and he is considered the most decorated hitter in baseball history.
Fall down seven times, get up eight. ~Japanese Proverb
Most of us have been exposed to this quote at some point in our lives. Here is a living proof example. Yes, baseball is just a game. But, it provides insight into some valuable lessons that can be applied to many other areas of our life. We can always cultivate hope. We can learn to embrace failure as a stepping stone to success. We can choose to focus on the positive and expand its influence in our lives.
As I step into the backyard and don my glove, I pick up the ball and prepare to pitch to the opposition in my 10 year old son. First base is the plumeria tree (much to the dismay of my wife). Second base is the vague patch of lightened grass somewhere in the general area of where second base should be. Third base is the concrete slab leading to the air conditioned house. And how I long for the air conditioning on those 95 degree days when my son comes running out of his room and inquisitively states one word, “Baseball?”
As much as I am tired when I get home after a long day at work, as hot and humid as it is outside, I sometimes forget just how important this time with loved ones really is. In a way, the miniature baseball world of our backyard has taught me another lesson. To live in the moment, to appreciate the people around you, to cherish every experience you are able to share.
I have never had the opportunity to hit a game winning single with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning. I will never be a hero on a baseball diamond, lest it be during my sleeping hours. But, as I take the initiative today, I poke my head around the corner into my son’s room and utter the inquisitive “Baseball?”. The immediate response and grin on his face reminds me that I can be a hero on this field of dreams in my own backyard.
And that observation is truly a diamond in the rough.