Josh Brage


Softball Equals Life
October 25, 2006, 10:25 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized


Over the past six months I have encountered an entire new world. This world is fast-paced, exciting, suspenseful and fulfilling. The world I have found is the world of church-league softball. (Please be aware that softball may be a reoccurring topic of my blog posts.)

During the summer and through October if it was a Sunday evening or a Tuesday night, there was only one place where you would find that and me was on the ballfields at Redstone Park. This experience thrilled me. Not only did I get to participate in the renewal of one of my bigger dreams, but I got to play with some of the greatest men I have ever encountered.

These men are just that – men. Men of God. These are not flashy men, not loud men, not arrogant men. They are humble, straight-forward, honest men of God. They enjoy being competitive. They love their families. And they love to win.

Someone once said that competition does not create character, it simply reveals it. This is quick and easy to see on the softball field. As I have watched my team, other teams and myself participate in these hour-long character sessions, I have noticed something. During every softball game, there are actually two games being played. You can win and lose at both of these games and sometimes those victories do not come on the same night.

The first game is of course, the game that is on the scoreboard. This is easy to look at, to add stats to and to monitor. The other game is the more elusive. The second game is the character game. This is the game of who you really are. Let’s talk about the four outcomes of every softball game. I will talk about them in descending order of desirability.

First, there is the win/win. This is when you win on the scoreboard first and you win in the game of character second. Not only do you and your team excel in the basics of the game of hitting, throwing, fielding, etc, but you do it with class and confidence. You treat the other team with respect. You hold your head high, but you do not tilt it back so as to look down at the other team. You maintain your poise as a confident team who realizes that winning is just that – winning.

Second, there is the lose/win. The loss is the hard part. Everything about this type of win has to do with the fact that you are in fact losing or have lost on the scoreboard. You got outplayed, maybe outsmarted. Now then, how do you handle yourself. You can continue to walk off the field with respect for the other team. You can walk off the field with confidence. You can say ‘good game’ to the other team’s player and mean it. You handle your loss well.

Finally, there is the lose/lose. This is by far the most difficult on everyone, but the reason I rank it third is because at some point you can still make an excuse. Maybe the other team taunted you and you lost your cool. Maybe you made a couple of errors and were simply unable to handle the humiliation well. Maybe . . . However there is nothing classier than a team getting its butt handed to it on the field and they are able to walk off the field with their heads up and their mouths closed. If you are going to lose, lose well. Don’t embarrass yourself by complaining about balls and strike calls or arguing a close play at first or harassing an umpire. Just lose, walk off the field and try harder next time.

Finally, there is the win/lose. The first two are desired outcomes. If you fall in one of the first two categories then you can claim a successful evening. However, if you fall into one of these last two – your evening needs to be examined. This final category is probably the most despicable scenario in all of sports and in all of life.

If you win a game and are not able to keep your mouth shut and respect the other team – you do not deserve the mark in the win column. You are not a winner. The team that scores lots of runs and then flaunts it, is not a winning team. The team that takes extra bases when up by 14, is not a winning team. The team that consistently reminds the other team that they are losing, is not a winning team. Let winning speak for itself. Let your playing speak for itself. This is true in every area of life. If luck throws you good things or you are just plain good at something – just take it for what it is and work/play hard.

Interesting. Softball lessons are life lessons. The thing I want most is to be excellent in every area. I want to be excellent on the field with my skills and on the field with my character. This is true about my life. If I can’t win on the scoreboard at least let me win the respect of my teammates, my opponent and most importantly – my God.

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