Why is baseball called America’s pastime? This I believe is why:
Baseball is the perfect sport for a young man to learn, if there can be such a thing as the perfect sport. It is full of life’s lessons. If learned, they will serve you well no matter what you undertake. On the one hand it demands teamwork, on the other it allows you to perform as an individual. At times you will share the joy of another’s achievements, other times the spotlight will be on you. And yes, forgiving someone’s poor performance is required, just as you will ask your poor performance to be forgiven. It is true that other sports allow the same things to a point, it is in baseball they are best displayed. What makes baseball different is standing at the plate.
When life throws you a curveball, either you hit it or you don’t. Either way you stand at the plate alone. In the end, it’s not about hitting the curve; it’s about having the guts to stand at the plate. That is my philosophy in life. That’s what watching players like Hank Aaron has taught me. Watching him as a kid was pure joy for me. Each time I would see him come to bat, I learned it all over again. Although the results can be exciting to watch, just standing at home plate while a guy throws a rocket inches from your face at near 100 miles per hour takes guts. At times it even looks like it will take you head off, like with an inside curve. Hitting any pitch, much less a curveball is not easy. Hitting the ball depends on many things, your skill, the pitcher’s, and even mundane things like where the sun is at the moment all play into it. Still, there you stand, one guy against nine. Sometimes, it just may be a turn at bat; other times the World Series hangs in the balance. Every time, it is you that steps into the batter’s box. Every time you say “bring it on!”
At least three times a game you have to go to the plate and bat. Three times you stand, one against nine. Three times you’re ready to face that curveball. Sometimes you will get the hit, sometimes you won’t. The point is to try, to simply put yourself out there and try. The only guarantee is you won’t get a hit if you don’t stand at the plate. Even a great man like Hank Aaron struck out over 1,300 times. The true disappointment is not striking out; it is not standing at the plate. Hank taught me that. Baseball taught me that.