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Author and poet Rudyard Kipling, most famously known for writing the beloved classic “The Jungle Book” wrote a simple yet profound poem titled “IF”. At the beginning of the third stanza Kipling writes
“If you can make one heap of all your winnings,
And risk it on one turn of pitch and toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss.”
When I read those prophetic words from a man who never played the game of baseball, I am amazed at how accurate and difficult those words are to put into action. Every time you step onto a baseball field, you are taking a risk. You are trying to do the toughest, most difficult thing in sports. You are risking it all on a simple game of “pitch and toss.”
A simple game played by competitors who strive for greatness and perfection. You will win and you will lose and you will be forced to start again. Each day is a new start, whether yesterday was good or bad, today is new.
A simple pitch, a simple toss might have cost the game yesterday, but today you will “start again at your beginnings.”The ability to lay everything on the line is the only way to play the game. The ability to leave it on the field is the only way to do away with regret.
Be aggressive, get dirty, run hard, dive, slide, compete. Every day when you have a chance to put on a uniform, risk it all! Give everything the game demands.
Now let’s look at the last line from the poem above. “And never breathe a word about your loss”. Losses will happen but when you actually risk it all, you will have the ability to risk it again and again and again. If a player is capable of risking it every day, they will never end up losing in the end. There is only one way to play this game and it is the “right way.”
If you have the chance, check out the poem titled “IF” in its entirety.
Kipling closes the poem with this piece of advice.
“If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds worth of distance run
Yours is the earth and everything that’s in it,
And- which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son”
Until Next Time,