Luck: it all depends on your perspective

You’ll need to stay with me for a bit on this one to get to the softball point. But I promise there will be one.

Yesterday, coming home from a tournament where we didn’t do particularly well (to say the least) a more serious disaster struck. While driving on cruise control down I-70 in Ohio, the car’s engine started to race wildly. I crossed three lanes to pull over on the side of the road and disengaged the cruise control. Then I tried to pull back onto the highway — only nothing happened. The engine revved, but the car didn’t go anywhere. It quickly became apparent that we had gone as far as we were going to go. We called for roadside service, the car was towed, and we wound up in a Hampton Inn in Englewood, Ohio. (Nice little town if any of you are from there, by the way.)

Today we got the bad word. As I suspected, the transmission was shot. Apparently Mazda Tributes have some known issues with their transmissions. Unfortunately with this particular one, it also affected the cooling system; we have to replace both the transmission and the radiator, and flush the cooling system. Looks like it will cost us about $4,000 or more. Not only that, we had to leave it there while we rented a car to come home.

It would be very easy to say “what terrible luck,” and in some ways you’d be right. A $4,000 car repair bill, plus the cost of a rental car and a hotel room for the night is not exactly what we were hoping for out of Sunday. But there’s also another way of looking at it. I’ve been thinking about all the things that were lucky about it. Here are a few examples:

* We weren’t on our way to a game. I carry the team equipment. Had the breakdown occurred during the tournament rather than afterward the team would’ve been hosed, especially since we only had 10 players with us and one was injured during the tournament.

* We were traveling down a major highway. On the way down I followed the GPS, which took us through every little town in Indiana and Ohio. I chose to go back down I-70, which made us a lot easier to find, and made for a much shorter tow.

* Another of our players (Carla) and her family had hung back to watch a friend play in the same tournament. As a result, my daughter Kimmie was able to go home with them Sunday night since they were kind enough to stop and pick her up.

* We broke down close to a nice hotel. It was a nice room, and my wife and I were able to hit the pool, take a nice walk, and spend some quality time together after a hectic softball season.

* Thanks to a helpful shuttle van driver, we were able to find a rental car for half the price we’d seen online and were able to get home today.

So in a lot of ways we were actually very lucky. It all depends on how you look at it.

The same can occur with a softball team, or a softball season. Things may seem bad, and you may want to cry “woe is me.” But if you stop and take a look at it from another perspective, you may find things are actually better than they seem. Maybe that error at a critical time is just the inspiration you need to work a little harder and improve. Maybe a baserunning mistake that costs you a game today becomes the teaching moment that allows you to win a more important game down the road. You just never know.

So when things look their darkest, do your best to find the positive. It may take a little while, but it will pay off in the end.

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About Ken Krause

Ken Krause has been coaching girls fastpitch softball for nearly 20 years. Some may know him as a contributing columnist to Softball Magazine, where he writes Krause's Korner -- a regular column sponsored by Louisville Slugger. Ken is also the Administrator of the Discuss Fastpitch Forum, the most popular fastpitch discussion forum on the Internet. He is currently a Three Star Master Coach with the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA), and is certified by both the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) and American Sports Education Program (ASEP). Ken is a private instructor specializing in pitchers, hitters, and catchers. He teaches at North Shore Baseball Academy in Libertyville, IL and Pro-Player Consultants in McHenry, IL.

Posted on July 27, 2009, in General Thoughts, Mental game. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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