It’s now March and the snow has finally melted and the skies seem to be turning much bluer and the temperatures are warmer than just a few short days ago. Spring is finally sprung and with that thought my mind is now drifting to what it always does this time each year: Baseball.
As I dwell on it just a bit more, I am reminded how baseball is just like life itself. Ok, I’m not saying it’s as important or as critical as your life (I had to write that line to keep peace with my wife and those of you who aren’t baseball fans, you uncivilized #@$%#’s). But really, baseball has a cycle that follows the patterns of your very own life. Have you ever considered that? Are you prepared for what’s ahead? Here’s my take on the path that you’re following which you probably never thought about quite like this.
Birth / The Baseball Draft
Each year lots of babies are born and the proud parents fuss and cuddle their newborns and compare them to all the other babies they see. Well, it’s the same in the world of baseball as the proud teams pick their new(born) players from the many that are out there and sign them up for what they hope will be a happy, healthy, and prosperous future just as your parents had hoped for you. Ok, they probably didn’t pick you, but they did pick their partners who made you!
Growing Up / The Minor Leagues
Like every kid, as you grow up, you’re taught the really basic fundamentals of life (the game) by your parents and your teachers in school. You’re shown the traditional ways things are done and yet you’re still free to develop your own personality and style. Teams do just the same down in the minors. They teach and educate you. You train and hone your skills, perhaps in college or some other form of education, to prepare for the future. All the while, just as in life, you’re chomping at the bit for your chance to move out and start in the big leagues as in job, career, and the earning and lifestyle you dream of (whatever that may be for you).
Your Career Begins / Welcome to the Major Leagues
Well, you made it! What will happen next? You have plenty of chances and decisions that will affect your performance every day. You studied and are sure you’re ready. The skills you have are about to be tested and you’re thinking about all your opportunities. Your actions will impact your rating, your income, and your future. Will you make the right moves? Will you become an all-star or just a bench player? Will you secure your future (and your family’s) or just ride the pines until you miss the opportunities?
There are three types of baseball players: those who make it happen, those who watch it happen and those who wonder what happens.
– Tommy Lasorda, former manager of the LA Dodgers and Hall of Famer
Your Prime Earning Years / Baseball’s Prime Time Years
In life, your best years are usually when you’re in your 30’s, 40’s and 50’s (at least as your earnings go). That is when you are growing and peaking in the most upwards of ways. It’s the time you must consider all the things that you need to consider, like homes, cars, kids, health, college funds, investments, charities, elder parents, and retirement options. Earning power and career go hand in hand and, with some planning, lay the path to successful retirements.
In baseball, it is much the same thing. Your prime years may be condensed of course, after all it’s a young man’s game and the skills are physically demanding. The years to get the prime earnings are probably only 25-35. Even with that point in mind, you have to be constantly aware that your ratings, performances, dependability, excellence, and consistency are the cornerstones of your success.
You have a limited time to prepare for the next phases in both career and baseball.
Retirement / Retirement (Duh!)
We all know it’s coming at some point, or at least we should know and prepare ourselves for it and the changes in our life that it implies. Some of us look forward to it, prepare ourselves and succeed in adjusting to being out of the pressure and spotlight that our prime years occupied. Some of us miss that time dearly, pine for it, and never adjust. While others come into their second act, seeking out businesses and passions we didn’t have time for earlier, such as the many baseball players who become coaches and commentators. But if we plan appropriately—financially, emotionally, and physically—we can enjoy this stage of life equally or even more than before. The baseball player may not perform in front of thousands every day any longer, but his reputation and accomplishments can make him respected, admired, and ultimately legendary. The same can be true in life. Being that kind of performer in your life can earn you the love and respect of your family and fulfill all of your dreams and hopes for both you and them. It really depends on the effort, planning, and determination, as much as the talent, you possess. The goals is to maximize your life to its best potential. That’s all anyone can really ask, isn’t it?
So there you have it: one man’s take on his favorite sport and life itself. I never made it to the major leagues in baseball, but I think I did in life to my very best potential. It is something to think about and it’s probably not too late to start right now. Are you riding the pines or are you in the game every day playing your best?
Image courtesy of hin255 on freedigitalphotos.net (with changes)