You can’t have a New York summer without baseball. You also can’t have a New York summer without the Yankees. One of 30 teams in the pro league who are normally towards the top of the ladder, you either love ’em or hate ’em.
I was lucky enough, in my short time in New York, to get along to a Yankees game at, you guessed it, Yankee Stadium. Actually, I was super lucky as I got to see the 4th of July game, where I saw the Yankees win against the Tampa Bay Rays in the hot summer sunshine, beer and hot dog in hand.
So what did I learn about the New York Yankees and baseball? Well, I learnt a little bit about the sport, as well as the general stats in relation to the Yankees, but more importantly I learnt that there are parallels between baseball and life, and this game helped me recognise five important life lessons.
1. Even if you are the highest paid player with the best home run hit ratio, if you’re a mean person, your team and fans won’t like you
Alex Rodriguez (also known as A-Rod) is one of the highest paid players for the Yankees and is known for hitting home runs on his first or second swing of the game. This I saw first hand at Fenway Park in Boston and it was amazing! But whenever A-Rod walks onto the pitch, everyone boos, even Yankee fans. Why? Because A-Rod has not been very nice to the Yankees lately, meaning many people (even fans) dislike him, despite his home run hit ratio.
Just because you’re the best, doesn’t mean you’re the best for the team.
2. Sometimes you strike out, sometimes it’s three times and you’re out. But you always get another chance, even another game
Just like in baseball, in life sometimes we may strike out, with a job, with a relationship, or with a friend, but it’s not over until you say it’s over. Even A-Rod gets caught out sometimes and has to walk back to the dugout without a home run. Does he throw his hands up in the air and quit? No, he just keeps on swinging that bat. So, even if you think you’re going to strike out, keep swinging. Who knows?
You may just get that home run you were hoping for. But you won’t know if you don’t try.
3. Listen to your coach, respect them and ask for their help, they are there to support you
As a cheerleading coach this is one of my favourites. In life, we have all types of coaches – family, friends, managers, mentors – all helping and guiding us. Sometimes they suggest a game plan we don’t quite understand or want to execute. But instead of hitting back, being negative and telling them to go away because you think you can do it yourself, talk to them, ask them for clarification and maybe even try it their way. It may work, it may not work, but at least you listened and respected them.
Relationships based on mutual respect will get you a lot further than doing it on your own.
4. If you can steal a base, do it! But not at the risk of the game.
Sometimes baseball players get cocky and try to steal bases. Sometimes it works, and sometimes the pitcher catches you at the last second and you get caught out. Just like baseball, life is about measured risks and it’s important to go out and make the most of your life, but not at the risk of the game, of your or someone else’s life.
So be brave, courageous and adventurous, but don’t do something that will end the game.
5. You win some, you lose some, just remember to enjoy the game
Life is amazing, but sometimes it’s also a challenge. You may strike out and you may not hit that home run every time, you may even lose a game or two. After all, every great athlete has lost a game. But it’s these moments that make the victories so much sweeter, so much more valuable. Appreciate your team mates. Listen to your coach. Train hard and look after your health.
Don’t lose sight of winning the Championship Series and most importantly, remember to enjoy the journey. After all, it’s all yours.