We have a legacy (minus me) of really great baseball players in the Landers DNA. Not like good… but really great. I loved playing baseball with my Dad (Ted), My Uncle Ned, Toby and Torrey (my cousins). We would play from sun up to sun down. Usually on fields so weathered that we would spend the first 30 minutes picking up rocks around the infield so we could at least lesson the chances of destroying our face with a bad hop. We would bring extra T-shirts for all the bases, and then make sure our tetanus shot was up to date because of the rusty backstop that was barely upright. We would pretend to be our favorite players. Every at bat was the bottom of the ninth, 2 outs, bases loaded, down by 3, and a full count… and always against the Yankees. We learned more than just baseball. We learned LIFE. Things like… Discipline. Patience. Concentration. Preparation. Teamwork. Perseverance. Humility. The list is long. But one attribute that sometimes gets missed in baseball and life is…Risk. I’ve heard my Dad say before, "Do something everyday that scares you". Take a risk. Take a chance. Failure is our teacher. And in baseball and in life, the difference between good and great usually comes down to adding one missing ingredient and it’s often RISK. Dr. Tony Evans says, “If you don’t take CHANCES, you don’t make ADVANCES.” There are some great growth opportunities in RISK.
(Risk) helps us understand we’re not in control, but GOD is.
(Risk) keeps us engaged, and sensitive to the humanity around us.
(Risk) gives us the opportunity to never arrive but to be life long learners.
(Risk) brings out the best and or the worst in all of us.
(Risk) has a way of exposing who we really are vs. what we think we are.
(Risk) will never let us settle in, but will always bring about growth.
(Risk) is always synonymous with progress, movement, and true vision.
I wrote a song called “Squeeze Play“ from a funny moment with my son Dawson. He was playing T-Ball, which is really just 5-year-old rugby. They hit the ball, all 9 players make a pile on the ball. The runner rounds the bases, and all the parents cheer and believe that there child might have a shot in the major leagues one day. Again, being that our DNA has the blood of baseball champions, I obviously knew that Dawson was way beyond these other poop sniffers, but had him play, just so the fans could see a real prodigy. So Dawson gets up. Has his stance balanced and loose, relaxed grip, super sweet gentle sway and then swings with great hip rotation and hits the ball a ton. People looking through telescopes at Mars would have seen this ball for a brief second. Anyway, it went about 3 feet in front of the 9 players diving on it. He started running to 1st, made a great turn, and then headed to second. I’m thinking, homerun, legitimate homerun 1st time up, ever!!!!! He hits 2nd and rounds to go to 3rd and then makes a sharp turn and decides to skip 3rd all together, running straight across the pitchers mound home. I was speechless, and a tad lost as I bashed my head on the oak tree next to me. When Dawson came up to me, I bent down and looked deep into those blue eyes and asked… “What were you thinking?” And he said, and I quote “Dad, I just wanted to come home.”
I learned a few more lessons that day.
*Sometime living can suck the life right out of you. And what we think is so important, just might not be. Maybe we need to sometimes just skip 3rd all together and come home to the things that really matter.
*Secondly, when taking a risk, make sure you know the rules, and make sure your “legendary baseball Dad isn’t watching his grandson run across the pitcher mound, while his Dad bangs his head on an oak tree.” Funny stuff. Listen to the song; I think you’ll dig it.