As my beloved Boston baseball team sank lower in the standings with each progressive loss (dating back nearly two weeks), they seemed slow. They were making errors. They were growing frustrated as chinks appeared in their once rock-solid armor.
Several veterans who helped carry last year’s team to the post-season pinnacle are gone. Some are still on the team but have gone down with injury and are unable to contribute. We’ve also got a handful of rookies who are struggling to cement their spots on the roster.
All in all, the spark with ignited the Boston Strong camaraderie seems to have faded a bit.
My team has become…human.
They’ve become painful to watch as the wheels fell off the bus, game after game.
What is great about this?
In turning this skid around, they’ve had to dig deeper to rebuild their belief in themselves as individuals and as a team.
Here are three lessons I learned over the past two weeks:
1) Some Days We All Hit Like S***!
No matter how many successful sales calls you’ve racked up, or clients you’ve made happy, there will be days when you’re not bringing you’re a-game to the ballpark. Your timing may be off. You may not be in your best shape. Heck, you may leave the bat on your shoulder and let some perfect pitches go by. Whatever the reason, please understand that we all have slumps. There is as much to learn, if not more, from our strikeouts as our home runs. Keep an eye on your performance, and ask your coaches how you can improve, and stay in there swinging. You’ll get back on track!
2) Don’t Let Your Temper Flare Out There!
As frustrating as it gets when things aren’t going well (like losing ten games in a row), you must be careful about letting too much frustration seep out against your teammates. Maybe someone didn’t try hard enough. Perhaps one player has a personal gripe about another. You might not think the others are hustling enough. Please keep the venting in the clubhouse. There is no need to air dirty laundry in public. It weakens the whole team, and can open the floodgates for media speculation (which can make the issue ten times worse).
3) Some Days Hustle Beats Muscle!
Relying upon your biggest bats to deliver home runs every time is not the most dependable way to win a game. Heck, many Baseball Hall of Fame members failed nearly seven out of every ten trips to the plate. What CAN get a rally going, inching you closer to victory, is the commitment to ‘run out’ every play. Got a promising lead? Hustle your buns off to close it. You don’t have to hit a home run every time, but you do have to beat your competition to the bag, be called safe, and get a high-five from your teammates when the scoreboard eventually says you’ve won.
Does Monday’s victory mean Boston’s losing ways are over and we can start firing up the Duck Boats for another baseball championship parade?
What it does mean is a slide down the mountain has been stopped, for the moment, by a solid foothold on an outcropping of success. What must happen now is a climb back toward success, one solid step at a time, as a team, together.
How are YOU hitting these days?
What are communicating WITH, and ABOUT, your team members?
Are you adding MUSCLE to your HUSTLE, running out every opportunity to score?
The game is on, and you’re up.