Ep 88: Take care of your own “at-bat”

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Okay, I managed to go 87 episodes without bringing up baseball…until today! ⚾😀 I was hoping for a comeback win in today’s Yankees game, but alas, it was not to be.

But if they had pulled it out, it would have been because each player owned his turn at the plate. You can find some parallels for this in your life outside the ballpark.

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Full transcript 👇

Ep 88: Take care of your own "at-bat"

Photo credit: Me! Derek Jeter taking one of a bajillion at-bats at a game in Yankee stadium on April 10, 2010. I sure did love taking pictures at Yankee Stadium. 😊

Hi. I’m Lori Miller and this is your Mental Health Moment.

If you’re a fan of baseball, or any sport, you know the feeling when the game’s almost over and your team’s down by a lot.

It’s not a fun feeling, and usually at this point of the game the concession stand is closed so there’s no way to distract yourself.

Your team’s down by six runs and it’s the bottom of the eighth inning. You appreciate your pitcher’s efforts to keep the other team where they are, but you have low expectations for that ninth inning coming up.

The other team’s lead looks insurmountable. I mean, physically a comeback in the bottom of the ninth could be possible, but not likely.

Heaven and earth would have to move to make that happen.

You wonder if you should join the trickle of fans you see heading towards the exits.

Maybe they’re right. It might be more practical to get out of the parking lot without a hassle than to witness the inevitable end.

While you’re scanning the expanse of empty seats around you, suddenly you hear that unmistakable cracking sound.

You whip your head around to see that the ninth inning started while you were doing all that looking around. And your team just got a hit.

You’re on base, yes!

Still, you’re not too pumped up. There’s a lot of room between where you are now and actually winning this thing.

There’s still a lot of baseball that has to happen in a short period of time.

And besides, how can the players even get themselves in a position mentally to do that? Don’t they see the bleak picture here, too?

You watch in stunned silence while your team racks up hit after hit, brings in a few runs, and works a few walks. Finally, the winning run walks up to the plate.

  • Now your expectations have come up.
  • Now a win seems doable and real.

But this player isn’t your big bopper, your clean up guy, or your superstar. It’s a utility player. A solid player for sure, but not the one that has the pitcher shaking in his cleats.

And then, CRACK! He gives that ball a ride! Right over the wall!

Game over and your team just came from being down six runs in the ninth to win this thing.

The remaining true fans like you rise to their feet, high fiving everyone in sight and saying how you knew it all along.

Your team just moved heaven and earth apparently.

While you were gazing around trying to figure out when to leave the ballpark, your team was focused on winning.

Kind of.

All teams would say they focus on winning.

But your team understood that winning is simply the result of each player taking care of his own at-bat.

What does that mean?

First of all, let me give credit to former Yankees pitcher David Cone for using that phrase a lot; which is ironic since he knows more about pitching a perfect game than focusing on at-bats.

Anyway, an “at-bat” is simply a player’s single turn at the plate. An at-bat could result in an out, a strikeout or a hit. If the player gets his bat in perfect position to the incoming ball, he might hit a home run.

Now he’s a hero.

But that doesn’t happen often. Statistically he’s more likely to strike out. That’s just the reality of baseball.

But if he’s a decent player there’s about a 25% chance he’ll get a hit that can put him in position for a run.

If he focuses on all that while standing in the batter’s box, though, he’s going to add to his strikeouts for sure.

He knows that his task is simply to keep his eye on each pitch as it comes.

Not the next pitch and not the one that came before.

And he’s certainly not thinking about his teammate’s at-bat just before him or whether or not the next batter will bring it home like a hero.

That’s not how you keep your head together when it looks hopeless.

He’s focused on being in HIS box with HIS pitch in HIS present moment.

He’s doing his very best to take care of what HE’s responsible for.

He’s taking care of his own at-bat.

The winning part isn’t really up to him.

How do you handle your days when you’re in a deep hole with no way to win outside of heaven and earth?

Do you trust in your ability to take care of what you can take care of? To keep your eye on what you know and trust your training?

Do you focus on what you bring to the plate in this moment for this situation and just execute that?

It’s easy to lose sight of all that when you feel like there’s no way you can win.

When things look pretty hopeless, it’s so easy to want to look outside of our own box.

We look for other people to blame and desperately grapple for any solution that doesn’t require us to just focus on our one part.

You can’t control how others play the game.

And you certainly can’t control how others standing behind you are seeing the pitches.

You can only focus on where you choose to place your attention right now and how you respond to each situation that comes across the plate, as it comes.

If you can relax and stay focused on what’s in front of you right now, you may look up and realize that you put yourself in a position to actually win.

Now you just need a little extra effort to get you over the wall.

Find ways today to focus on your own turn at the plate.

Do what you can do to inch this thing forward and stop worrying about the result.

You can catch episodes of Mental Health Moment by visiting mymentalhealthmoment.com. Don’t forget to subscribe to Mental Health Moment on Amazon Alexa, Apple podcast, Google podcast and Spotify. Just search for “Mental Health Moment with Lori Miller.”

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