Softball is many things. Today, softball is winning an argument.

My kids are competing in a March Madness style battle of wits. They get to argue for why their superhero would win in a fight with their plethora of abilities. One student took it so far as to prove, unequivocally, that his opponent’s ability to heal 100x faster than the average human would be no match against a second-degree or third-degree burn from his opponent’s fire breath. Because, as he argued, that would equate to “3.48 hours of healing time.” Fortunately for him, I’m not a math teacher, so I had to take his word on that one.

Needless to say, the art of argument is an incredibly relevant skill to teach our youth.

I began thinking about how I once had to use this particular skill to outwit my opponent in one of the most ruthlessly cut-throat arguments of all-time: Proving why softball/baseball is the greatest sport in the world.

My opponent tried to claim that, in order to play softball, you didn’t have to be athletic. Absurd.

My opponent tried to claim that volleyball was, and I quote, “harder” than softball. Ridiculous.

My opponent tried to claim that he could, and again, I quote, “Hit a pitch, no problem. It’s not that hard.” Get out of town you fool.

 

I could go on, in detail riddled with anger, resentment, and disdain for my opponent, why I would win and why he would lose. I could explain the details of the argument.

But I realized something really important that nullified the argument completely. We were biased.We carried too much emotion, passion, and love for our sport that we would never be persuaded. We could never truly respect the other perspective, because we already had made up our minds.

I know that softball has so many nuances that, to the untrained eye, he would never respect the way that I do. He could never know that to excel in the sport you have to know how to throw a ball so that it delivers a perfect one hop. He could never anticipate the direction the ball would bounce after hitting the grass by knowing the way it’s spinning in the air, and how to react. He’d never know the mental stamina it took to continue hitting know that you’re failing 70% of the time you step in the box. He couldn’t possibly realize how challenging it is to make perfect contact with a pitch coming at you at 70MPH and rapidly rising over your hands. He just couldn’t possibly know that.

So, I conceded in my argument. I walked away being able to respect the opinion of a man who loved his sport as equally as I did, and who knew it equally as well.

Fortunately, my students don’t have any personal experience with being Chuck Norris, so it’s safe to say the bias won’t be as big of an issue.

Softball is many things. Today, softball is winning an argument.

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6 thoughts on “Softball is Winning an Argument

  1. Just before we came in the house for the evening we were at the park. (Remember this is Saudi Arabia.) Four boys were on the football pitch (soccer) with a tennis ball and bat. Watching the American kid who has played baseball and loves the game try and teach some basics to the other three was a hoot. “I’ll be empire”, as he squats behind the batter. “You go far fielding!” one yells to the one who needs to chace anything that gets hit past the pitcher. And so on.

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  2. Love the way you made this argument unit relevant for your students. And I love the battle of the wits they’re engaged in – even if we don’t know if all their points are correct or not!

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  3. I learned a lot about softball from reading your post! In my experience, many people think what THEY do (job, sports, whatever) is more difficult than what they see someone else doing. You don’t know the challenges and nuances until you are in the game or job. Nice work explaining softball!

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