How to Get Over a Bad Game
Ohhhh it was a bad game it was such a bad game you want to erase it from your memory you want to erase it from your kid’s memory it was just awful. This is, of course, why baseball is the greatest game in the world, and no, we will never stop saying that, because baseball embraces failure.
Baseball doesn’t ask us not to fail, it asks us to pick ourselves up and figure out how we deal with failure. Baseball builds character, no doubt about it. But when you’re eleven years old and you didn’t catch that fly ball, and it was such an easy catch, it is just the crappiest, and it feels inconsolable. When you watch your kid running for home and you hear the words “YERRR OWWWWT!!!”and you have to put your hands in your pockets to keep from climbing the chain link fence and ripping the umpire limb from limb, things can feel kind of hopeless.
So, how to get over a bad game?
First: Be All Grateful and Stuff
Okay, you were the contributing factor to your team’s loss, it was AWFUL! But guess what? You’ll play another game! You can run, you can jump, you can hit and catch and throw and snap someone with your towel in the locker room, you’re ALIVE! How awesome is it that you get to PLAY BASEBALL? Being aware of how much you have in the midst of losing your favorite batting helmet can sometimes offer solace.
Second: Happiness Can’t be Found Inside of a Baseball
The entire enduring secret of baseball is that the integrity and spirit of a baseball player’s confidence comes from within. The roar of parents, of a crowd, of a stadium, sure, it feels good, but true contentment for you rests inside of you. Does every hit need to be a home run, or does it feel great just to feel the earth under your cleats, your bat at the ready, and the steady gaze of a pitcher who is there to throw a challenge your way?
Does every throw have to be in a game, or is it great to be “throwing and growing”with your fellow team mates, joshing and joking and having fun drinking root beer and having burgers after practice?
If you can access the truth of baseball, it’s deeper significance that embraces loyalty, friendship, togetherness and community, and how we all thrive together with these things, you might be able to stop yourself from shouting at the coach when he changes your kid out in the lineup. Baseball asks us to find inner peace, which sounds totally smarmy, but it’s true.
Third: Triumph on the Flip Side
If you’re going to come out stronger on the other side of a crappy game, you’re going to have to accept that a bad game, in the history of your life, is kind of chump change. Go ahead, stack ‘em up, all your life experiences, from the time you got an F on an algebra pop quiz, to losing the family dog, to not being quite sure if you are excited about the birth of your baby brother. These are all the things you’ve experienced, and then this ONE horrible game, well, it’s just one horrible game, isn’t it? It doesn’t need to be lauded or glorified as the worst thing ever in your whole entire life, because it probably isn’t. If it’s not, um… odds are a bad baseball game will not be the worst thing you will experience in your lifetime! Face the horrible moment you didn’t catch that ball, the moment you blurted out your kid’s name when they missed a grounder, and sit with it and accept it. You have to accept things like this, otherwise they just simmer forever and you end up hollering at people for no reason and they think you’re crazy. Accept the awfulness so that you can get through it. Then eat a piece of fruit and calm down.
Fourth: Don’t be So Hard on Yourself or the Team
You just can’t live a rich, full life without stepping in poo once in a while. There will be misery on and off the field, there will be name calling and tears and brooding. There will be moods. But then you can remember that no one wants to feel bad, your fellow team mates need you, and you need them. Your kid needs you to buck up and not glower the entire car ride home, your kid needs reassurance and love, which is why good sportsmanship exists. Good sportsmanship is just a fancy sports term for looking out for each other and treating each other with kindness and compassion.
Good luck! Enjoy the game!