Busch Stadium

Outstanding in their field

I’ve been watching the baseball World Series and though I’m a Cardinals fan, something Boston’s manager said after Game 3 really struck me. That game had ended with a stunning (but not incorrect) obstruction call that gave the Cards the winning run in the ninth inning. I saw a reporter ask how that ending affected the Red Sox the following night, and John Farrell replied something similar to “It happened on the field last night, and we left it there.”

How wise is this. Would that more students heeded this message . . . the idea that when something doesn’t go your way, you must leave that thing in the past as much as possible and focus on “winning” the next night. (Again, I prefer to see the Cardinals win, but anyway.) So many of my students, sadly, became defeatist after failing at a small assignment or failing a class entirely; they were prone to give up, drop out, and adopt a victim mentality. Perhaps they were dwelling too much on unpleasant events in the past; perhaps they were letting their anxieties and frustrations determine their fate.

It seems we have a philosophical lesson to take from sports: that is, the best players do take personal responsibility for their wins and losses, and when something out of their control happens, they don’t let it get in the way of their big-picture goal.  Naturally this is difficult to enact in real life, but I have to conclude the champions in the sports world have gotten where they are due to very hard work and persistence combined with the right attitude.

Take this example if you’re a student; know you’ll win a few and lose a few, but focus on the future!

Post script: I wrote a little piece on baseball and what it can teach us (featuring historical tidbits) in October 2011: In Honor of the Fall Classic: “Our Game.”

Image via Wikimedia Commons/Fredlyfish4