Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Not at All Unlike the Poker Tables

I played for a fastpitch softball team that competed against and beat the top teams in the world. Now when I say world I’m talking about club teams, not national teams because it would be hard to believe a group of guys from Aurora, Illinois could consistently beat the Canadian National Team. Anyway, this experience was not unlike war most of the time. We didn’t let up, we didn’t take it easy, we didn’t soft play anyone.

I remember one time in particular in Portage Wisconsin where we had made it to the first championship game of a double elimination tourney. The other team in the finals was also from our town and was a very good team. The manager asked if we wanted to split the championship money and just head home because it was already 9:00 and we had a 3 hour drive home ahead of us. To a man we said lets play. The money was insignificant. We had been whipping up on this team all season and they didn’t want to get beat by us again. They were scared. We won the game and started home around 11:00…the same time I was suppose to be at work. I called up my boss and let him know where I was at and headed into work a few hours late…in my ball uniform. He covered my time and I busted my ass the rest of the night because we won and he understood the importance of ball in my life.

A few years later, I think it was 1996, there was a huge flood in northern Illinois. We had something like 17 inches of rain during a 24 hour period and everyone on the team was affected by the storm. It happened one month before the ISC World Tournament, the busiest part of our schedule, and our season came to a screeching halt. One guy on the team had water 4 feet into his first floor and another had the building where he worked all but covered by the storm water. I even had just under 4 feet of water in my basement. In essence, we had to put our lives back together before we could even think about personal things like playing ball. We went to the world tourney that year, In Kimberly Wisconsin. And played our asses off. We won our first game 1-0 on an inside the park homerun in the 6th inning after we almost had to forfeit because guys were still on the way to the ball park. We lost the next game 2-1 to knock us into the losers bracket. Our center fielder got hit in the face by a pitch and taken to the hospital to get x-rays. He was back at the game before it was over. He had a broken jaw but played center field for the rest of the tourney. We came back and beat the Guatemalan National team and a team from Milverton Ontario to get in a position to make a run. Our season was over after losing our final game but we ended in a tie for 13th or something like that. Not bad for a group of guys who hadn’t played any ball for a month.

I guess this post has nothing to do with anything other then having the will to compete and to work for what you want. You can’t let adversity diminish what you have done in the past or let it get in the way of what you want to accomplish. Focus and determination will over come in the long run. Set your goals and find the path that will lead you to success.

Not at all unlike the poker tables.

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