People often equate that one of the most beneficial aspects of sports are their ability to teach lasting life lessons.
I am one of these people. I believe all sports are good for building character and teaching young athletes how to be successful in life. Sports teach lessons of grit, drive, focus, camaraderie and delayed gratification; however, I think there is one lesson that is overlooked. That is, overlooked in all sports other than baseball and softball.
Most people hate to see this word and in some ways I do too. Nobody likes to fail, it sucks, it’s demoralizing, it hurts… it’s beneficial. While nobody should seek out failure, when it happens, it should be embraced. Failure is not the end of the line, it’s a lesson and a motivator. In life you will fail a lot, and we have to learn to not only live with that failure, but to learn from it. This is the lesson that is highlighted in baseball and softball more than any other sport. In this game, you will always fail more often than you succeed; that’s just how the game works. In this game you have 9 innings, if you fail in the first you have 8 more innings to keep going. This teaches young athletes about perseverance and having a short memory. And for the exceptional athlete it pushes them. Failure haunts them and bites at their heels until they work themselves hard enough to where those failures become less frequent. But, the great thing about the game is there’s always a new motivator, a new failure to eat at you and make the carrot of success dangling in front of your face, look even more desirable..
This lesson, failure, I would argue is the most valuable lesson that can be taught. In life I’ve failed a lot of times.
Whether it was a test I failed, a job I didn’t get, a team I didn’t make or a person I let down. Those failures haunt me and drive me to be a better person, drive me to work that much harder. If there is one thing I have learned from baseball and failure throughout my life, it’s that you don’t fail when you fall short of success, you fail when you give up.
Written By Matthew Cusick