American Pastimes:  Baseball and Credit Unions

The culture of credit unions-locally founded, community centered, volunteer led by committed fans-mirrors  the passion for baseball across America.

Recently I published the story of Day Air Credit Union’s support for the Dayton Dragons minor league franchise.  The team has the longest running consecutive sellouts of any professional sports team in America.

Credit unions are involved in the sport across the country.  From sponsorships of local Little Leagues to  university teams to minor league affiliations up to PenFed’s  support for the Washington Nationals, baseball and credit unions are natural allies.

Recently a baseball player at Springfield High (Illinois) where I graduated decades ago, wrote his thoughts on baseball’s lessons for life for the student newspaper, The Senator.  The author, Seth Impson, seems an excellent player based on his self description.

His thoughts about the sport show why baseball is often called The Game of Life.

Anyone who knows me knows I live for the game of baseball. There’s nothing better than the smell of pine tar and the sound of a ball hitting the bat. Nothing better than feeling the wind in your face as you round third base. Nothing better than dirt and dust flying everywhere as you slide into home. But it is more than just a game; baseball has taught me a lot about life.

  1. If it’s close, swing the bat.

Too many times in life fear keeps us from trying something new or different. We let opportunities pass us by because we’re afraid we might fail. Then later we wish we would have gone for it. In baseball, if a pitch is close, you have to take a chance and swing. It’s the same way in life– it’s better to give something your best shot and risk failure than to stand there looking while the perfect opportunity flies by.

  1. You’re only as good as the guys behind you.

I had a lot of success pitching last year. I struck out 79 guys, walked 17 and only gave up 54 hits. But I threw 65 innings. I faced 264 batters. Do the math- the guys on the field behind me made plays and got 114 guys out. Over 100 times, a batter hit the pitch I threw to him and someone else on my team made a play. Only 16 of those 264 players scored runs against us. Without those guys on the field with me, my season would not have been anything special. In life, surround yourself with people who have your back and will make those plays when you most need them.

  1. Practice makes better.

No, that’s not a mistake. I didn’t mean to say “practice makes perfect.” The fact is it doesn’t. No one can ever be perfect. There is always room for improvement. But if you put in the work, you will get better. Work each and every day to come further than you were the day before and bettering yourself. The goal of life is to make yourself a better person than you were the day before, baseball is the same way.  You will see growth.

  1. Don’t let them see you sweat.

There are moments in a baseball game where you find yourself under intense pressure. When your team is down by one with a runner on third and two outs and you’re up to bat. When you are on the mound about to face the best hitter in the conference. Whatever it is, you can’t let the other guys know you’re stressed. You can’t let someone else get in your head. Take a deep breath and focus on the task you need to accomplish.

  1. Failure builds character.

Baseball is a game of failure. In the MLB, a batting average of .300 or higher is considered good. That means a player gets a hit 3 out of every 10 tries. That also means 7 out of 10 times, that player gets out. On Tuesday I flew out, struck out and walked. I didn’t get a single hit. But the next day I hit two triples and a homerun.

In baseball, you will fail. Life is the same way. You just can’t let failure stop you from getting up and trying again, because the next day things might go your way and you’ll find yourself right where you want to be. This builds persistence and in every tough, successful person there are characteristics that sets them apart. Baseball brings out these certain things, builds them up and creates strong character. 


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