As April begins, Houston is alive with our Springtime awakening. The flowers bloom, the birds sing, and the sports menu is out of control! Basketball’s March Madness reaches its pinnacle. The professional golf & tennis tournaments are Houston happening today. Planning is underway for the NFL draft, and Spring college football fills the air with rumors and innuendo. Now for the bad news: baseball season begins.
Many folks find the beginning of baseball is a cause for celebration. I’ve heard that it’s a great time; because every team is undefeated and full of hope. The problem is…I follow the Astros. Today they are undefeated. In fact they have the honor of hosting the first game of the season. We even have a new place for our cellar dwelling team. The bottom of the American League West. ARod earns more individually than the entire Houston Astros team. Hope does not spring forth this spring.
So what is a fan to do confronted with such a situation? The truth is that we generally lose when we face a hopeless situation. I am big on sports analogies for life, and I know that in life many of us face hopeless situations. Some would tell you full speed ahead and ignore the facts. Butting my head into brick walls is a skill set I have honed. That makes a favorite saying of mine…it feels so good when it quits hurting. I probably stole it from an old country song. Some folks tell you that whatever you believe will happen. I have found that facts are hard things that we must deal with honestly.
I do get that attitude can influence a situation. I understand if all you see is doom & gloom you are likely to find it. I also think there is a place for an honorable effort even when the results are not likely to be what we desire. I play tennis, and some folks are better players. They are faster, stronger, in better shape, and this chaps me to admit…but younger. I have a suspicion this circumstance is not headed in my favor, but I can still enjoy playing tennis. A friend once told me that if you never lose it says more about the quality of your competition than the quality of your tennis.
We are not always going to win. That is true for our sports teams. That is true for our own athletic endeavors. That is true for our lives. We can do our best and enjoy the process, but that does not mean victory in the end. My Astros are likely to set a record this season…for the most losses ever by a MLB team. Mets fans prepare to rejoice. I can still enjoy my team. The stadium is awesome, the beer will still be cold, my buddies will still be fun, and a real upside is the tickets will be easy to get. I can worry the young guys on the tennis court, but fewer will fall in defeat. I can enjoy the exercise, the competition and the camaraderie.
When we face tough circumstances, we need to focus on the process. Rather than focusing on the end goal, set smaller intermediary steps that we can accomplish. Find that enjoyment one small step at a time. With a realistic attitude, we might even get surprised by finding a bit of hope…perhaps even a surprising victory. Here’s hoping the Astros have a great season….not expecting a pennant…but hoping!