My morning message to family and friends was a Babe Ruth quote, “Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.”
While I was directing followers to the message, I focused on the speaker … The Bambino.
Babe Ruth was a little before my time, more like a legend. Being raised in Yankee territory, the Babe’s exploits were readily available. In fact, it had been rumored he even hunted in the hills of Sussex County, NJ, where Karen and I purchased our first home.
For those of you who don’t know about Babe Ruth, it is said he was as much a hard drinking, stogie smoking womanizer who happened to have quite a bit of power on the baseball diamond. He’s one of the main attractions in Cooperstown, NY, home to the Baseball Hall of Fame. He held the major league record for home runs for many years, and even when Roger Maris topped his one year total of 60 and Hank Aaron eclipsed his total 714 homers, contemporaries always wanted to temper the accomplishments with asterisks. The Babe was baseball.
He wasn’t alone in freestyling his way to athletic greatness. You can look back just a few years to Brett Favre’s rise to football fame in Green Bay. It has been frequently reported Favre loved the grain spirits and wasn’t particularly a fan of team meetings.
And along the way, there have been countless other athletes whose sheer talent overshadowed their lifestyles.
What prompted this rant is we, as fans, are continually playing the “what if” game. Could Ruth play today’s baseball schedule with the same abandon and be just as successful? Could Favre succeed with less individual drive and more scheme discipline? Could my baseball heroes — Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, Juan Marichal — perform at the same level in a different time and place? Would the football linemen in the trenches in the 50s and 60s be as effective with today’s game?
I don’t know. I doubt it. The games continually evolve. Players get bigger, faster, stronger … schedules and travel have been expanded … seasons have virtually become year round.
The same is true for us. I don’t think I would have made the same decisions had I been born in the 20s or 30s or 70s and 80s. I can only imagine what my educational experiences would have been had I had the technological advances today’s youth possess.
I guess the point of this ramble is I was designed, created, placed in the time and place I was. It wasn’t my choice; it was His. There have been countless other artists, evangelists, factory workers, politicians, housewives, etc. whose God-given talent overshadowed their shortcomings and lifestyles. They were placed in their respective time and place.
We all have a purpose. Those before us had a purpose. Those who will follow will have a purpose. Some live/lived that purpose; others don’t/didn’t. Often our fears get in the way. “What if” becomes our favorite board game.
Babe Ruth didn’t let his flaws overshadow his natural athletic ability. We shouldn’t let our flaws overshadow our purpose.
“Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.”
THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Every day you need to remind yourself, I’m ready for and equal to anything that comes my way. — Joel Osteen