A ray of light

Tampa-Bay-Rays-LogoHow can one person become so emotionally involved in a game? That is the question I ask myself as I sit on the edge of my couch contemplating the fact that I may be watching my last Tampa Bay Rays baseball game of the 2013 season.

For the past eight days, my team has played in six baseball games, four of which were elimination games, games that could have been the final one of their season. Yet, in each of these four games, they have found a way to prevail. To live another day, to play another game.

I have been a fan of baseball all my life. I have been a fan of the Tampa Bay Rays since 2006. They have been wildly successful over the last five seasons. Before 2008, however, they were a team that lost more than half of their games played. Some would suggest it was due to their former team mascot (Devil Rays), but I digress.

Even during those unproductive seasons, I enjoyed watching them play. How is it that you can enjoy watching your favorite sporting team lose almost twice as much as they win? It’s all about attitude. No, not your attitude as a fan. Rather, it is the attitude of the players on the team that make all the difference. Regardless of their win-loss record, each of the players continue to play with hustle, heart, determination, and persistence. These are inspiring attributes not only in the game of baseball, but also in the game of life.

I sit in the virtual stadium of my living room. With every heart-pounding and nail-biting moment of anticipation during a game, I live through them as if each were my own moment to succeed or fail. Even though we have no direct influence over the outcome of a game, we feel connected and emotionally invested. Even though we don’t know any of the players personally, we seem to identify with them at some level. These are baseball players and human beings who are dealing with their own type of challenging situations both on and off the playing field.

Therein lays the answer to the question that prompted this post. Why do we get so immersed in a team? Why are we so fanatical? We can identify with these players, our players. There are superstars. There are everyday players. There are flashy and flamboyant personalities. There are quiet and poignant leaders. Regardless of what type of personality we carry inside, there is sure to be someone on our team that we can associate with.

teamworkAnd when we see all these personalities mesh together to form a cohesive team, it is an inspiring sight to behold. Coming together as a group to achieve a common goal is not only an admirable ambition on a baseball diamond. It’s an aspiration in our everyday lives.

As the flood of emotions ebb and flow over the course of a baseball game and an entire season, we become a little more entrenched as a fan of our favorite player, a follower of our favorite team. Yes, they play a game for a living and it is, after all, only a game. But, those players and that team can teach us so much about how we handle our own life. How we can carry the right attitude within ourselves in the face of victory or defeat. How we can work together as a team to achieve a worthy goal. How we can remain persistent and determined regardless of the score. How we can always continue to hope and see a window of opportunity in any situation.

As I prepare to don my lucky hat and situate myself in front of the television, I will imagine myself sitting inside the dome at Tropicana Field. I will cheer. I will sigh. I will gasp. I will pace. Most of all, I will hope. And although I may be watching the final game of the season this evening, I will do it with the knowledge that this sport and this team have taught me a tremendous amount about the important things in life.

A ray of light that reminds me to focus on the current day, the current game and just keep taking one day, one inning, one out at a time. Let your inner child out and enjoy every …  single … moment.

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5 thoughts on “A ray of light

  1. MRS N, the Author October 8, 2013 / 1:46 pm

    Wow! You put into words what every fan of a baseball team goes through (especially in the postseason). Beautifully written, Dave! As a baseball fan myself (Go Minnesota Twins), I can totally relate to this! To immerse myself into each player, each pitch, each run, each strike out is something miraculous and thus so is baseball. 🙂

    Life is a lot like baseball. Sometimes you will strike out and sometimes you will hit a home run. Every time you come to the plate, you have to have the mindset of swinging for the fences. A ray of light will shine down… 😉

    • davecenker October 8, 2013 / 2:36 pm

      Thank you Mrs. N 😉 I appreciate your keen insights and parallels between baseball and life. Best wishes for an inspired day!

  2. MRS N, the Author October 8, 2013 / 2:46 pm

    You know me, I love baseball and life! 🙂 You were the one that made me think of the parallels so thank you! 😉

    By the way, good luck to the Rays in tonight’s game! 🙂

  3. apartmentwife October 8, 2013 / 8:11 pm

    this post provided a little bit of insight into why husband insists on watching every single brewer, badger and packer game — i like getting all the input from a guys perspective 🙂 i think you’re spot on though, however, about it being something about all the different personalities coming together to achieve something greater than themselves — isn’t that something we all want to be a part of?

    • davecenker October 9, 2013 / 8:23 am

      Absolutely! Whether it’s in a baseball, football, basketball, or hockey game, it just so happens that these playing fields, courts, and rinks provide the perfect arena to demonstrate that ambition. And I’m happy to provide some perspective 😉

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