Pink, red, hearts and chocolate. Just a few February mainstays that we have all become familiar with. But what else does February bring for those of us at The Drive? Hesitation.
As we come to grips with the end of another football season, sports fans find themselves in a bit of an odd spot every February. The Super Bowl is over and even National Signing Day for college football has come and passed. The NBA is in the middle of its season, which means there are arguably two exciting games per week. College basketball, of which I am a noted fanatic, has been producing unbelievable theater and should be on your television at least 5 days a week like it is in my house.
But with the power and influence that sports holds in our lives today, what do we have to hold onto in February as motivation? As inspiration for our personal goals? The beauty of sports in society is that he gives us all a real-life perspective of what hard work in the pursuit of your dreams can get you. So for all of you searching for something to relate to in the world of sports this month, look no further than the dawn of another MLB Spring Training.
As pitchers and catchers report to their respective ball clubs this week and full squad workouts not far behind, have you ever considered what Spring Training is really all about? Sure, it gives all the players a little bit of a warm-up to get back into the swing of things after a long offseason spent golfing and fishing. But at the center of Spring Training, in every single workout, drill or game that a team participates in, we find one thing: opportunity.
It’s a chance for a young prospect to prove he’s not just a baseball player but a professional. An opening for a Dad of two kids who has spent his career in the minor leagues to finally realize the dream he has been chasing his whole life. The last moment an aging veteran gets to show that he’s still capable of playing with guys that are over a decade his junior.
In a sport that has been regarded as the toughest in terms of pure odds to make it to the professional level, baseball players spend their entire lives waiting for just a glimmer of hope. In February, they know that glimmer might finally shine through. But as we have noted in previous articles, the reality in life is that we should be so fortunate to even get the opportunity to pursuit our dreams. To seize the opportunity requires something special. The good news? We are ALL capable of being that special.
So if you are the young prospect, chomping at the bit to get a chance to show you belong, heed this advice: stay within yourself, seek to prove to everyone that you are nothing more or less than who you truly are. Too many times people reach the precipice of their goals and overextend themselves, pushing too hard at the end of race only to run out of gas. Believe that you who are at your core is always going to be good enough for your dreams. Have the confidence that there is no way you could have come this far if you weren’t meant to make it all the way.
If you are the ballplayer that has been biding his time, patiently waiting for the opportunity to take the next big step, then you already should know this: your dreams are always important. If you believe you can accomplish it then it’s realistic. The more people doubt you, the more motivated you become. The wonderful thing about people who tell you that you can’t do something is that they have explicitly given you a goal to aim for. Accept the challenge.
Finally, if you are the veteran that has never thought about anything but living his dream, believe this: you can’t fail if you never give up. A final score does not dictate the end of a journey. If anyone tells you that you can’t do something, simply tell them that you haven’t…yet. You will always be in control of when your workout is finished, when your run is completed or when your journey is complete.
Hope. You don’t know you need it until you’ve lost it. So again, I urge you all to find the finer things within this year’s Spring Training. See the people, athletes or not, that have taken upon themselves to put last year in the past and make this season the greatest they could ever imagine. In sports, we talk about a clean slate going into each new season. For you, every day is a clean slate.
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