If you want to test your theories on life, share them with 16-year-old boys.
Every summer since 2014, I’ve coached my son’s baseball team.
The last two years, I tried a new approach.
We focus on the mental aspect of the game.
Last year, our team took the Monstars to extra innings and lost in a heartbreaker.
One kid’s dad sent me a message this week.
He misses my pre-game speeches.
The feelings bubbled up. If it wasn’t for the couple of beers I had, I may have felt the full effect of why I coach young men in a game I love almost as much as my wife.
This year’s team only has two returning players from last year.
One of them is my son. He thinks I’m full of crap.
I could see in the other kids’ eyes that no one had spoken to them like this at the ballfield.
Here’s what I told them.
Baseball is a team sport, highlighting individual statistics.
It’s hard not to compare your stats against others on the team.
It’s hard to ignore your stats and your individual accomplishments.
I get it.
But…Baseball is a team game.
The game is won or lost.
The goal is to win.
I want you to think about what I’m about to tell you.
I don’t want you to answer it out loud. Just answer it for yourself.
If you have a choice: Go 4 for 4 and the team loses, OR go 0 for 4 and the team wins.
Which one do you choose?
Don’t answer it out loud.
If you chose 4 for 4 and the team loses, you’re selfish.
You’re not thinking about the team.
Maybe you should play an individual sport like golf or tennis.
I’m gonna share something with you.
I had to learn this on my own.
No one shared this wisdom with me when I was growing up.
As young men, this will help you in baseball and in life.
A couple of years ago, I learned:
The secret to happiness in life is helping other people.
In baseball, it’s cheering on your teammates.
Pick them up when they make a mistake.
Cheer them on.
Let them know you’re a fan.
I promise you something.
When you cheer for your teammates, you will feel better, despite your own play.
I promise you, when you feel better, you will play better.
You won’t hold the bat as tight, you’ll make fewer errors, and you’ll be loose.
In fact, the key to your success is how you help others.
I want you to remember that today.
I don’t care about YOUR stats. I care about the team.
If you care about the team as much as I do, your stats will improve.
More importantly, when we win, we win as a team.
And when we win as a team, there’s no better feeling on the diamond.
Together we can win championships.
We went out and played our best games of the season.
The negativity of adolescence was banished for 4 hours.
We played with fewer errors, more hits, and phenomenal pitching.
In the microcosm of baseball, rules of life emerge.
The key to your happiness is helping others.
We don’t support selfishness.
I think we despise it.
Selfishness is a dead fish rotting at the bottom of a bucket.
We want to see it, but we turn away as quickly as we can.
As you run your business, the acts of selflessness will outshine your selfishness.
Employees will repeat those acts.
Customers will applaud those feats.
And children will remember what you did many, many years later.