“SWINGING FOR FENCES AND SETTLING FOR SINGLES”
The batter is warming up on deck – meaning he is the next one to come to the plate to face the pitcher. The man on the pitching mound is known for sinking the dreams of wannabees - the homerun hitters who have to be willing to settle for simply getting on base and waiting to brought home by the next hitter.
Bat in hand, the wannabe strides toward home plate with an arrogant purposeful step. The commentator’s voice excitedly rises in volume. The batter swings mightily as the baseball crosses home plate. But he has misread the pitch and only catches a glancing blow as the ball dives sharply at the last second. The ball careens weakly toward the player at third base, who charges toward it, scoops it up and fires the ball to the first baseman. The batter barely beats the throw by a fraction of a second – giving him a single on the stats sheet, again.
He is successfully standing on first base, that’s true. But first base is not exactly what that batter had in mind when he approached home plate a few seconds ago. He had fully intended to carry out what he had been imagining for the last week – smashing that ball out of the park and trotting around the bases to the thunderous applause of his many adoring fans in the stands.
Meanwhile, his batting coach is kicking dirt in the dugout and disgustedly shaking his head …again. “How many times do I have to tell him to quit swingin’ for the fence, tryin’ to make a home run ever time? Just concentrate on solidly connectin’ with the ball! The rest will come, if he will jes’ work on the basics of swingin’ correctly! How many times do I have to say that to that idiot?”
Sounds way too familiar. Most of us have done the same. Either as the fame-seeking batter, or the disgusted coach who is fed up with antics of the one we are trying to help.
The batter who doesn’t understand the need to put in the work to master the basics can frustrate a coach to no end. The coach can easily spot the batter’s potential – but knows his student will probably never become the player of note that he really could be. Because that batter has his eyes on the wrong target. The far fence instead of the center of the approaching ball.
Coach = Our Creator using our life, trying to teach us the basics of success.
Student player = Me, you, and every other breathing human on the planet, who insists on taking shortcuts to homeruns that we dream about endlessly.
One of these days, hopefully we will learn to concentrate on doing the small daily things the way they need to be done. And let the homeruns happen as a consequence of taking care of those small things well.