I had one of those instances when something I was reading in a sports book converged with a conversation at the pub. The kind where I’m able to see how something transcends sports, which is one of the reasons I launched this Live Ball project.
I’m not sure how much I want to unpack about the sports book, which is “The Greatest Game Ever Played” by Mark Frost. It’s been made into a movie, of course, and I’ve seen the movie, of course. But I like to read books after I’ve already seen the movie (e.g., “Band of Brothers” and “High Fidelity”) because it’s like watching a 20-hour version of the movie. But for my purposes here, I’m going to give the extremely short version. The book is about Francis Ouimet, a great amateur golfer who was in his prime in the early 20th century when amateur golfers were among the world’s best golfers.
The particular reference comes from early in the book before Ouimet’s career started to ascend. He was working for a sporting goods manufacturer named George Wright and because Wright was a golf enthusiast and former baseball player with the Boston Red Stockings, he recognized Ouimet’s talent and his struggle to reach his full potential.
I’m paraphrasing Frost here, who was paraphrasing the story, but the general idea is the thing, so it’s not lost. Wright told Ouimet about times when his Red Stockings teams would fall behind by 8 runs. Wright said he would watch every batter go to the plate and attempt to hit an 8-run home run. So he told his guys and he told Ouimet, you can’t hit an 8-run home run. You have to come back 1 run at a time, 1 base at a time, 1 pitch at a time.
Ouimet was practicing golf with the intent of winning the national amateur. But Wright told him to get 1 run at a time. He should practice with the intent of winning the Massachusetts amateur and take it one step at a time.
That’s the best way I can tell my friends and myself not to try to take steps 4, 5 and 6 before we take steps 1, 2 and 3.
So I was sitting at a table with my friends Brian and Becky, among others, on Thursday night. Brian is preparing to release a 5-song EP of rock songs to boost his career as a solo rocker. He’s a badass. Becky is taking the step out on her own to do freelance graphic design. She designed The Live Ball logo, so you can see that she’s a badass. And they’re working together on Brian’s album art.
And we’re all sort of sitting there thinking “how the hell are we going to get where we want to go?”
So I told them about Wright and Ouimet. We’re going to get there 1 run, 1 base, 1 pitch at a time.
Photo via the New York Daily News.
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