This I Believe

Brady - Indianola, Iowa
Entered on September 6, 2007

When thinking back on all the events and happenings in my life, it’s tough to distinguish what I would call my “beliefs.” Beliefs aren’t just something you say you believe in, but something you have to feel within. As I take a look back, I can sum it all up in one short sentence. I believe in baseball.

Now some people would say that baseball isn’t a belief, and they’re right. I’m not talking about believing in throwing a good slider or knowing how to hit a homerun on every pitch. I believe in the lifelong lessons the game of baseball can teach you. When I look back at my time on a baseball field from little league to high school and even college, baseball has taught me more life lessons than I thought I would ever learn. You could almost call it the “Game of Life.”

Starting out as a kid playing little league, baseball taught me to be passionate about life. It doesn’t matter what kind of a day you are having or what kind of a mood you are in. When you are on a baseball field, nothing else in the world matters for that brief moment because once you are out there; you can’t help but to fall in love with the game. Also at a young age, the game taught me about friendships and teamwork with others. It’s about nine guys working together to obtain a common goal. I also learned the value of teammates and friends. At a young age, I thought that I could do anything all by myself. Hit every homerun, make every play, and score every run. The truth is in life, you will always need people to be right by your side. You might not think you need them, but they are always there to help you out and catch you when you fall. That’s what friendships are all about. Caring for one another in any situation life may throw at you.

As I grew older, I learned on of the greatest lessons anyone could ever teach me. That is the value of hard work. Growing up in the Midwest in a small farming community, I learned early that hard work and dedication can take you far in life. From a baseball stand point, hard work is what separates those who just want to get by on God-given talent, and those have the passion to be more than that. Going back to my days as a junior in high school in a town where baseball is their greatest tradition, I was seen as one of the possible great who wasn’t living up to his expectations. I was an average hitter and a decent catcher behind the plate. After that season, I made it my personal goal to do everything in power to get better. I basically lived in the batting cage and weight room for the next ten months getting ready for my final high school season. In the end, all the hours in the cage, late nights at the ballpark, all the blood, sweat, and tears paid off. As a senior, I finished as one of the top hitters and catchers in the state of Iowa, and moved on to play college ball. None of it would have been possible without the Midwestern work ethic bestowed on me at a young age.

Another lesson that baseball has taught me throughout my life is learning to fail. Baseball is a game of failure. In baseball, if a player goes up to bat ten times, and gets three hits, that’s a .333 batting average. A career .333 average will get you in the baseball Hall of Fame. Now what other sport can you fail seven times out of ten, and still be in the Hall of Fame? In life, you are going to fail way more times than you are going to succeed. Whether it’s in school, in relationships, in your career, or even in your everyday life, you will always face failure more than succession. Not only has baseball taught me about failure, it has taught me how to deal with it. Some people see failure as them being not as good or that they can’t do something. I have learned to view failure as just a “swing and miss” in my life. If I’m up to bat and pitcher throws one by me, big deal. I know I will always get another shot at it. I used to get so worked up about a “swing and miss” or even striking out. After getting older, I’ve seen that I am going to strike out a lot in life and I can deal with it one of two ways. I can put my head down and not think I am any good, or I can get back in the box the next time and watch myself succeed. Failure is just another part of life that although might be unpleasant at the time, in the long run it can help you become a better person. It also reminds me of one of my favorite song lyrics from the Steve Miller Band, “You got to go through hell before you get to heaven.”

From all the life lessons I have learned, I would say the most valuable to me were learned on the baseball field. There are still many other values and beliefs in my life, but the cornerstones of living the good life according to me were found on ball diamond. Fun, passion, dedication, hard work, failure, and perseverance were all lessons learned by stepping into the batter’s box or over the chalk lines. When it comes down to it, I am as one of my favorite quotes says…”I’m just a little kid who fell in love with the game, and never looked back.”