I have been trying not to listen to talk radio. I have been trying to avoid social media. I have been trying to stay away from the news. Especially on days like today. A day after a Bears loss, in the playoffs, short handed, to a very, very good team.
I think it is hilarious that people listen to every word that these so called experts say as the fact. I think it is hilarious that guys like Mike Wilbon, David Kaplan, Marc Silverman are considered the end all be all when it comes to sports.
I could give negative examples about each and every person that I mentioned above; however, that would make me a hypocrite. See, I believe this is the same thing that happens in youth sports every weekend or every night in facilities, gyms, and rinks across the country. The negativity that is spewed by one persons spreads to another person, and then to another person, and then another person, and so on and so forth. It is a like a beautiful bowl of fruit. If you put one rotten piece of fruit inside a bowl of beautiful fruit, the rotten piece of fruit turns the beautiful piece of fruit rotten.
The arguments that these talking heads and journalists make for ratings insight the public. They turn a fickle public rotten. One parent at practice talking about a coach, or a program, turns a content parent rotten. It makes a great experience for kids and families in youth sports not as fun. And as for the coach, he does not want to even show up any more among the rotten bowl of fruit. Even though the kids, the players are in a separate bowl, ripe and ready to learn. That is until they hear a negative parent talk and home and then the player bowl starts to get rotten as well.
It is very easy to turn from good to bad in a hurry. The way to fix it is simple. Turn off the negativity. If you are a ripe piece of fruit, when a rotten piece jumps in to your environment, jump out.
Congratulations to The Chicago Bears, Matt Nagy, Ryan Pace, and the entire team for making the playoffs again. Congratulations for competing through adversity, negativity, injuries, and a long losing streak to fight back and make a play off run. Onward and upward! Lastly, I would be remiss if I didnt congratulate and thank Theo Epstein for what he did here. A still laugh at the notion that people think that he did not do a good job. What a joke! Rotten fruit makes great fruit change in a hurry. Don’t let it happen to you.
As I sit at my desk this morning, more somber that most, I think yet another way that baseball and life mirror one another. Similarities that are cruel, and maybe, just maybe, similar ways that we can try to beat that cruelness. Ways that we can smile, rather than frown, around a game and a world full of negativity.
The word is powerful. The power of the spoken word can get your brain correct. It is easier in baseball than in life; however, truth be the same. The brain can be told what to do. The correct information can be programmed in there. The negativity, the result thought, rather than the process thought, the thought of perfection when it is unattainable, all can be overcome by the power of the spoken word. The spoken word to yourself (out loud) or to others. The spoken word can beat up the bully of negative thoughts.
Players, former players, coaches, former coaches, family, friends, and foes if you do not want to talk out loud to yourself, call me. Call someone - Speak out loud.
Rest in Peace Dylan.
Little things matter. If we can not do the little things correctly, we will never be able to do the big things. Admiral William H. McRaven, (U.S.Navy Retired) wrote, “Make Your Bed Little Things That Can Change Your Life ... And Maybe The World.”
As we grow old, we start to realize the world is filled with negativity. The world is full of tasks that will wear you down. It is kinda like baseball. It is a game filled with negativity. If you think about it, someone fails on almost every single pitch. A pitcher throws a ball, instead of a strike. A hitter swings and misses. A hitter gets a hit off of a pitcher. A hitter hits the ball to the a fielder who makes an error. Just like life, negativity (bad things, bad news) is all around us. That is why we need Little Things. We need Winnable Battles. Battles that give us a little encouragement to tackle the “big things.”
As a coach, all of my teams know there are certain things that we need to do everyday. They better be done! They are small. But they better be accomplished. Once we do it, there is a sense of pride and accomplishment. There is a sense of teamwork and togetherness. There is a positivity surrounding a game, surrounding a life where that is hard to come by. Things that the most talented player and the least talented player can accomplish both the same.
The more winnable battles we can create on the field, and in life; things that we can easily accomplish on a daily basis, things that may take discipline or focus, but are totally under our control, the more we will able to attack the big. Be positive amongst negativity and go win!
When most people wake up in the morning and get out of their bed, they do not need to concentrate on standing up. In fact, the last time many of us concentrated on standing up was when we were babies. When we were learning how to walk for the first time. Carefully holding ourselves up for the first time, wobbling about before we fall on our ass, and try to do it again, and again, and again until it becomes second nature. And at hat point, we no longer concentrate on standing again.
That is a problem when we hit. Because we never really focus on standing, we have a tendency to neglect that when we hit. Standing and standing strong is imperative to being a powerful hitter. Feeling the ground securely, no wobbling what so ever, the concentration process of standing. To maintain a specified position or posture. Make sure the ground is our stabilizing force to explode past the baseball with balance and movement that the brain actually thinks we are doing is the difference between good and great.
So next time you get in the box, be a baby and stand for the first time again.
My one word for 2021 is “decide.”
I was reading a passage from Inc. Magazine from Renita Kalhorn. She is an executive coach, a trained concert pianist, and a black belt in martial arts. She was talking about Navy SEALs. A topic that greatly intrigues me. As a coach, as a player, as a business owner, as a father, I always try to teach and pursue mental toughness, and to me, there are no people more physically and mentally tough than Navy SEALs.
In the passage, Ms. Kalhorn talks to Navy SEAL instructors and asks how candidates last until the end of their training, and the answer was simple. They make it through because they know they are going to make it through.
In other words, they don’t wonder. They don’t hope. They DECIDE.
During this last year, just like others, I have had some very high moments, and some very low moments. Some of the highest of highs - speaking at The American Baseball Coaches Association clinic in Nashville, TN., and being asked to be an assistant baseball coach at Northwestern University. Two very big steps in my life and career. Later, due to the pandemic, the college baseball season ended abruptly. We were heading into conference play on a high note, and BOOM, I lost the position at Northwestern. Then later, as days of COVID-19 turned into weeks, and weeks into months, I lost my business of over 13 years. Pretty low.
I wondered what would happen to me and my future. I hoped I would be able to take care of my family. I was mentally beat up. However, the calendar changed. I have looked myself in the mirror and DECIDED that it is time to stop wondering and hoping. It is time to attack the next chapter of my life, and to be great at it. I have DECIDED to make it great.