Friday, July 13, 2012

On How Baseball Relates to Writing

Yes, I have been watching a lot of baseball this summer.  A LOT.   (Braden is currently on two teams - the High School Automotive Team and the Babe Ruth All-Star Team. Some form of game or practice six days a week.)  It's given me a lot of time to think. 

And of course, I think about writing while I'm sitting in the hot sun, watching my son and his teammates play. What kind of writer would I be if I didn't think about writing all of the time? 

As I watched and thought about it, I realized that there are a lot of similarities between becoming a great baseball player and becoming a great writer.

When Braden started playing, he had thrown the ball with his dad.  He'd hit the ball with his dad.  Still, he'd never played on a team.  He was little and inexperienced.  Scared each time he came up to bat.  Dropped a few balls when they were hit to him.  But he did it.  Again and again.  And the beautiful thing is, he learned something every time he took the field, every time he stood in the batter's box.  Looking at him now, you'd never know that he was once afraid to try to hit the ball, that he once struggled to catch a fly ball.

He's got experience and training behind him now.  He's getting more every day.  He's confident.  And he's a GREAT player - with the potential to be a PHENOMENAL player.

So how does this relate to writing?

Well, those of us who write do something similar.  We come up to the plate time and again, scared that our writing will fail.  We strike out a few times.  We may even get hit by the ball or drop the fly that's hit to us.

But if we want to be GREAT writers, PHENOMENAL writers, we do it again and again, gaining experience and training each time. 

We practice a lot.  We play a lot of games by entering contests.  We accept coaching when we work with crit partners.  We stand at that plate with each query letter we send.

And guess what - we strike out.  A lot. 

But it's that one hit, you know the one, that grand slam that scores the winning run, that we're waiting for.

And if we're patient, it will happen.

You know, GREAT baseball players hit the ball only three of ten times at bat.  Those who hit it a few times more than that are PHENOMENAL players.  (I never thought of it that way until I watched the movie 'Martian Child', but it's true, look at the stats of most MLB players.)  And in order for those three hits to happen, they have to get up to bat ten times.

They have to put their hearts and pride on the line TEN times to get THREE hits.

How many times have I stepped into the batter's box?  Honestly, I haven't counted.  I will, later.

I haven't hit that GREAT level yet.  PHENOMENAL is still a dream.  But it's attainable.  With enough practice, coaching, and playing time, I may just hit that grand slam.

In the meantime, I need to get ready to take Braden to practice today.  And tomorrow, we're off to the All-Star State Tournament.  (Okay, I'm bragging.  They're District Champs.  That gives me the right as his mother.  Right?)

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