Sunday, March 24, 2013

A Lesson From Bryce Harper

"a wise man will hear and increase learning"
Proverbs 1:5

Baseball season is a-comin.  Almost here.  One of my favorite days of the year is the day that pitchers and catchers report to their Spring Training camps, because then it's only a (short) matter of time before I'm sitting in my comfy chair, watching one of my favorite teams, and listening to the distinctive sound of Vin Scully's mellifluous voice. 

And there was an article in Sports Illustrated a few weeks ago, about Bryce Harper.
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Harper plays for the Washington Nationals ~ another one of my favorite teams ~ and was last year's National League Rookie of the Year.  So there's great interest in how he'll do this year.  Often athletes who shine in their first year, struggle in their second year.  Is it over-confidence?  Is it simply that opponents have learned their style and know how to compensate, to even the playing-field?

At any rate, Harper seems determined to not let the "sophomore slump" happen to him.  So he's been keeping in shape in the off-season, physically and mentally.  And one of the ways he's been doing that, is by watching video of himself hitting.

When you want to get better at something, watching video of yourself doing it is a great help.  You can analyze your flaws and weaknesses, maybe even finding ones you didn't know you had.

But get this:  Harper watches himself hitting singles and doubles, but he doesn't watch his outs, and he doesn't watch his home runs.  I love that.

A home run is a success.  It's bringing in runs for your team.  And there might be a flaw in your swing that you could analyze, but I think you're going to be focused more on the success, and your pride might get in the way of your learning.

An out, loosely speaking, is a failure.  There certainly would be something to learn from it, but you're liable to be too critical of yourself, and miss the lesson.

Emotion is a tricky thing.  It gets in our way, and clouds our judgement.  I think maybe that's why we should let Him look us over, and find the things we need to work on (Psalm 26:2)  We can't trust our pride or our self-doubt to let us see things clearly.  
I think if we find ourselves obsessing about our home runs, or our outs, that's not from Him.  He's not about pride, and He's not about condemnation.  He's about growth, and our learning to rely on the Holy Spirit to be in us what we can't. 

I heard someone say once, that God designed the human body so that we can neither pat ourselves on the back, nor kick ourselves in the behind, too easily.  I like that.

~ "Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, 
that we may obtain mercy
and find grace to help in time of need" ~
Hebrews 4:16

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