Softball is many things. Today, softball is feeding a wolf.

Sitting down in data team today, a respected co-worker reminded me of an old Cherokee legend: The Tale of Two Wolves. If you´re unfamiliar, it goes something like this:

ONE EVENING, AN ELDERLY
CHEROKEE BRAVE TOLD HIS
GRANDSON ABOUT A BATTLE THAT
GOES ON INSIDE PEOPLE.

HE SAID “MY SON, THE BATTLE IS
BETWEEN TWO ‘WOLVES’ INSIDE US ALL.
ONE IS EVIL. IT IS ANGER,
ENVY, JEALOUSY, SORROW,
REGRET, GREED, ARROGANCE,
SELF-PITY, GUILT, RESENTMENT,
INFERIORITY, LIES, FALSE PRIDE,
SUPERIORITY, AND EGO.

THE OTHER IS GOOD.
IT IS JOY, PEACE, LOVE, HOPE, SERENITY,
HUMILITY, KINDNESS, BENEVOLENCE,
EMPATHY, GENEROSITY,
TRUTH, COMPASSION AND FAITH.”

THE GRANDSON THOUGH ABOUT
IT FOR A MINUTE AND THEN ASKED
HIS GRANDFATHER:

“WHICH WOLF WINS?…”

THE OLD CHEROKEE SIMPLY REPLIED,
“THE ONE THAT YOU FEED.”

In the game of softball, or in any sport, there´s a phrase that every coach loves to throw around: Mental Toughness. According to Wikipedia, mental toughness is defined as collection of attributes that allow a person to persevere through difficult circumstances and emerge without losing confidence.  While the definition of the “Evil” and “Good” wolf varies slightly in the game of softball, the idea is still the same. For me, the Evil Wolf was my lack of confidence, focus, and grit. The Good Wolf was my determination, diligence, and serenity.

Softball is a game of averages. It’s also a game of failure. So, if you’re going to be one of the best players in the world, then you’re only performing at 30%. If you’re performing at 40%, you’re a deity. Needless to say, the very game of softball requires you to manifest yourself as the walking definition of mental toughness. Each day you’re faced with failure, and each day you have to figure out how to emerge with confidence.

Each and every day, I’d scour the field looking for food to feed The Good Wolf while The Evil Wolf would scour the field looking for scraps. Each and every day, I’d have to find a way to maintain my confidence. Sure, the Evil Wolf would sometimes manage to find a bite in a strikeout, or snack on an error. But in my 20 years of softball, The Good Wolf lived on, and The Evil Wolf wasted away into nothing.

What I’ve learned is that, since I left that field, I’ve had a harder time keeping The Good Wolf full. I’m not sure what it is. It’s as if it craves a hunger that I can no longer satisfy. When I started teaching, I wanted to bring that same mental toughness to my career that I brought to the field. However, emerging with confidence seems to be a little bit more challenging now that the cleats are off.

Softball is my soul. It is the one place where I’ve always known exactly who I am.

Fortunately, softball helps me know that I’m capable of keeping The Good Wolf full.

Who knows, maybe The Good Wolf is a vegan now.

Softball is many things. Today, softball is feeding a wolf.

 

 

 

 

 

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4 thoughts on “Softball is Feeding a Wolf

  1. Stop. The. Presses. Am I just catching on now? Are you doing a Softball Is… post every day this month? If so, you’re brilliant and I can’t wait to follow along. If not, no pressure. 🙂

    Loved this line: However, emerging with confidence seems to be a little bit more challenging now that the cleats are off. It’s like you’ve been stripped of your uniform and the confidence. So interesting.

    Great, great writing.

    Like

  2. I am also wondering if you are going to be able to come up with 31 softball slices! 🙂

    The reminder that softball is a game of failure. Grit / tenacity are necessary to succeed and they are great life lessons. Another thing softball is.

    Like

  3. Funny that all of us readers were wondering the same thing. I think when there is something you love in life you see connections to it everywhere. I know whenever I am starting a new unit I am amazed at how I see it everywhere. I love the part where you talk about the law of averages- good reminders as we all look to “succeed”.

    Like

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