Why Play?, 11/1/17

Life is filled with questions. How does this work? Who is that person? Why did he/she do that? Why is there a magical unicorn in my car? Okay, the last one might be a little eccentric, but you never know. The title of this post is even a question. So, why I am so fascinated with these questions? (There’s another one for those of you following along). Now that you’re sick of questions, I finally have an answer. My life is all about answering questions and finding the true meaning of my worth.  So, this post is centralized around a very important question in my life currently; why continue to play baseball?

To most people, it doesn’t make much sense. When I tell people what I’m doing, they typically ask a question similar to this: why don’t you just grow up, get a job and live a normal life away from baseball? To this question, I have many answers that I have carefully crafted over time. It’s like I keep replaying this question over and over in my head to create better scenarios of how I could properly answer this loaded question. And then after all that, I’ve decided to say, “Forget it.” I don’t need to create an answer that suits you just to justify what I’m doing.  I’m living my life according to me and me only. Even after playing baseball ends (which I know it can’t continue forever unless I find the fountain of youth), I will continue to live my life based on what makes ME happy. So the best answer to that burning question is, because I want to.

Now let’s forget all the cookie-cutter sayings such as, “Do what makes you happy” and “Live your life,” and look at the actual factors behind my decision to abandon real life and continue to play baseball. Yes, I’m doing it because it makes me happy, but there are outlying factors that are associated with this decision. Also, not everything about the decision is positive or the best situation for me personally. For example, I could make better money getting a teaching job, umpiring, conducting lessons or doing something else, but I continually choose to sacrifice a paycheck for a personal payment of satisfaction. Playing professional baseball provides additional negative outcomes such as the extensive amount of traveling and the distance away from family and friends. However, the main goal of this post is not to complain about the inadequacies of my situation but rather to embrace my decision.

In my opinion, every person on this earth is here for a specific reason and the things that happen to each person are somehow carefully calculated. It is for this reason that I believe each person has one “thing” that makes their heart flutter and invokes inner excitement like nothing else. A self-help book that I’ve recently read titled, “The Ant and the Elephant: Leadership for the Self,” by Vince Poscente laid this concept out clearly to me (it’s an amazing novel for anyone interested). Poscente speculated that each person needs to find their oasis, or the one thing that makes them feel alive. This “oasis” could be anything such as finding your dream job, starting/supporting a family, traveling the world, ending a toxic relationship or creating the world’s biggest snowman (the last one may be a little more innocuous, but you get the point). Everyone needs to find their own individual “oasis” to be truly happy in life.

If you’re even somewhat intelligent, which I can’t promise all of my five blog readers are, you should be able to predict what my “oasis” in life is by reading the beginning of this post. Being on a baseball field gives me a “freeing” feeling that cannot be achieved anywhere else. This feeling is not imagined or forced for me. It is a consciousness that I forgot existed since taking a hiatus from competitive baseball. Sure, playing local men’s league is fun and all, but it doesn’t produce the same euphoria as earning the win in a professional game. This made me realize that life can be enjoyed and appreciated even if that missing “piece” is absent, and the crazy part is that the person might not even realize it. I had no clue the fulfillment I was missing out on when baseball was removed from my life. It was not until I actually took the leap to tryout that I was enlightened of this vacant feeling.

I think this holds true for a lot of people. You might be interested in making a major life change, but something is holding you back. It could be fear of failure, denial, someone telling you that you can’t achieve whatever it is you want to or any other insignificant reason. Regardless of the reasoning, people are held back because of fear of the unknown. It is unknown whether you will succeed at the designated task, and this typically deters people from trying. Sometimes, you must take that leap of faith to accomplish something that is meaningful to you. You will never know the possibilities of what you can achieve until you actually try. If I wouldn’t have taken the first step to get back into competitive baseball, my life would not be as fulfilling or meaningful as it is today.