Good things take time
Saw something in Bobby Simpson’s Thoughts for Tuesday e-mail yesterday that I just had to share. Bobby is the owner of Higher Ground, and has served as a baseball and softball coach, most recently with the National team in Great Britain. He is also a fellow columnist in Softball Magazine.
In any case, Bobby likes to send out short e-mails on a variety of topics. Some are technical, but most are more of the inspirational or “think about this” type. Fair warning: Bobby is a religious sort and that definitely comes through in many of his materials. But he’s not obnoxious about it, so even if that kind of thing bothers you it shouldn’t get in the way of taking advantage of his knowledge.
This week he told the following story. I think it’s a tremendous perspective on what it takes to be successful, brilliant in its simplicity. Here it is:
“Our interim pastor told a terrific story a week ago and I want to share it with you because it applies to softball, baseball, other sports, business, math classes, and life in general. He said that a little boy in the western part of Africa gave a very beautiful shell to a missionary as an offering. Knowing that the shell came from a beach quite far from the village, the missionary said, ‘You had to walk 15-20 miles roundtrip to the beach to get this shell. That’s a very long walk.’ The little boy replied, ‘Long walk part of gift.’
“Too often, we want to get something valuable and not pay the price. We want ‘something for nothing.’ We want the free lunch, the magic pill, the drive-through, microwave, zappable success. We must realize that success normally comes from a sacrificial, long-walk journey and not from some instantized magic. Part of the talent or so-called gift that we see in skilled performance is the long walk to get there.”
That is unquestionably true. Every softball team goes into every season, every tournament, with the wish or “goal” of winning it all. But how many are willing to put in the long hours of boring, repetitious work to get there? How many coaches want their teams to win, but aren’t willing to invest the time to keep up with new developments in the sport, so they’re sure that what they’re teaching is what will take the team where it says it wants to go?
On some levels fastpitch softball is a complex, difficult to learn sport. But at its core it’s not that tough. If you can field a ground ball with 99.999% certainty of doing it cleanly and successfully you will be successful. If everyone on the team can do their jobs equally well, the team will be successful. What you have to know is that 99.999% certainty can only be achieved one way — through a focused effort to get there. It’s never a short jaunt. It’s a 15-20 mile walk. But in the end, you give yourself and your team a beautiful gift that will last a lifetime.
If you’d like to subscribe to Bobby Simpson’s newsletter, go to http://highergroundsoftball.com/newslet.php. I highly recommend it.