On The Bricks

October 25, 2022

Recently read an interesting article in the Oklahoma Humanities magazine about Cy Young Award winners (baseball pitchers). First, I found it interesting to be reading about sports in a humanities magazine, but it was a great article and the more you read it, the more you understood that they were telling what sets people who are great at what they do from others.

The pitchers they interviewed were open to trying new ideas. It is always easier and safer to stay with what we are used to doing, even if the new way is better and not as much work. We have to be brave and try new things to be the best, it seems.

Trying new ideas, when you dissect it, also means that you realize you don’t know everything, so you listen to others. The greatest athletes are the most coachable athletes. Period. And the greatest athletes probably didn’t have their parents saying they knew more than the coaches. Nor did the parents believe their children all the time … the coach is not always wrong. The coaches just have to deal with a whole team and not just your child. I don’t think this changes as we get older. We still have to admit we don’t know everything and listen to those who do know more.

The author of the article, Doug Wedge, wrote, “Though the circumstances varied, the pitchers had the humility to recognize that they didn’t have all the answers, and they had the curiosity and willingness to consider different ways for improving their craft.”

One of the pitchers, was quoted as saying, Corey Kluber, said, “Having the mind-set of trying to always learn, there’s always an opportunity to gain things from different people, no matter what their role is.”

Being prepared, and not relying on their talent alone, was one thing all of the pitchers did. They prepared their bodies to physically perform, working harder than others. They also prepared mentally. They studied their opponents. They took their work seriously.

These athletes also spoke about trusting your teammates. And treating your teammates well. They talked about dealing with failure. A great person does not blame others for their errors or failings. They simply work to rectify.

Wedge said, “Not one of these pitchers simply arrived on the summit as the best pitcher in the American or National League. All devoted themselves to a climb involving hours on a field, working with their catchers, teammates, and coaches; experimenting and finding things that worked well that they made a part of their game; and practicing them. They learned to deal with pressure and failure, and after years of this work, they earned and achieved exceptional success, reaching that pinnacle on the mound.”

Would not hurt us all to learn something from the best.

Hope you have a Happy Halloween.

See you on the bricks.