This week, I extended an invitation to my son, Stephen Ruisi to be my “guest blogger” and share with us an excerpt from a book he is writing about one of the most challenging experiences in his life. In this piece – written for his son – he uses the “27 Outs” in a baseball game to help his son build a path for a successful and meaningful life. Read on, enjoy and learn.
I last played organized baseball when I was slightly older than my son Jonah. I was 13 and in the 8th grade and it was in the local Babe Ruth league. In the span of a year, I went from playing on a little league field to a major league field. My growth spurt would not happen for some time whereas most of my teammates had grown exponentially in size and strength. Needless to say, I encountered a lot of difficulty and frustration.
Despite being in “retirement” from baseball for nearly 30 years, baseball remains one of the great loves of my life. I love everything about it – the way the bat feels when you hit the ball hard on the sweet spot, the sound the dirt makes when you slide under a tag, the popping of a catcher’s glove from a hard fastball. Baseball appeals to my intellectual curiosity as I love the strategy of game management. As a father and little league coach – the look of my children’s face when they get a hit or make a great catch. And recently – watching Olivia, the only girl in our league, throw heat and strike out the side (as a side note, I enjoyed the look of shock and bewilderment on the face of the boys she struck out).
One of my favorite elements is the fact that unlike other sports, baseball games are not governed by the arbitrary nature of a clock. To win a major league game, one team needs to get 27 outs. And, even though a team may be down to the last strike of the last out, the game is not over until the last out is recorded. So, in turn, that means that until the game is over, anything and everything is possible.
But more significantly, baseball permits a last strike, a last out comeback, particularly when it looks like the prospect for victory is all but extinct.
Given how baseball facilitates the comeback, one might assume this is the reason why I choose to write about baseball instead of something else (say track, a sport in which I competed for over 10 years). While that’s a big part of the reason, there is more to it that this one-dimensional view. Continue reading