Swinging for the Fences

Brett - Hinsdale, Illinois
Entered on November 1, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

Do you ever find someone to be too conservative about everything? Or someone that never takes any chances? “The policy of being to cautious is the greatest risk of all.” Jawaharlal Nehru’s quote about risks is one that I strongly believe in. Repeatedly, I experience people who have conformist views about sports and real life. I know three famous people that take chances and I admire that they swing for the fences.

It was once believed that Babe Ruth’s record for most all-time home runs would never be passed. In his baseball career, Ruth hit 714 home runs. People were wrong. Hank Aaron hit 755 home runs and passed Ruth’s record in 1973. In 2007, Barry Bonds would shatter this record by belting 762 career home runs. As these men take their stance in the batter’s box, they are thinking home run. The problem with this is there are risks. Tie ball game in the 9th inning with bases loaded, the batter wants a base hit to win the game, not a home run. These three men take risks every time they step up. Sometimes they pay off and sometimes they don’t.

When I play golf, I swing for the fences too. For example, on a hole where there is water to the right and out of bounds left, do I hit driver and play for birdie or do I hit an iron safely in the fairway and play for par? With one hole to play in a prestigious golf tournament, all I had to do was bogey and I would have made the 36-hole cut. With water right and left, I approached my bag and reached for driver. It was a wrong advance. My ball sailed into the water and I made a double- bogey six. I missed the cut by one stroke. People wonder if I ever regretted my decision about playing risky on the last hole. To this day, I have never regretted it. I am proud of the way I played the last hole because of what I believed in.

I believe risks are necessary in life and need to be made at times like these. If Barry Bonds did not try to hit a home run every time he was up to bat, he probably would not be the home run king. If I played for par on all eighteen holes, I would be an average player, not a great one. I believe in swinging for the fences because it separates the good from the great.