I don’t watch much baseball, but I felt compelled to watch Game Seven of the World Series. I’m not a Dodger fan, I’m not an Astros fan but I'm glad I watched because I learned something about human greatness.
The first thing that stood out to me was Astros' Pitcher Charlie Morton. Why? Not because he threw a great game but because it wasn’t predictable that he would. Morton has been in the Major Leagues for 9 years. It took him about seven to get to the Majors and since being there he’s endured 4 career ending surgeries. That alone would have been enough for most people to quit. He’s been on the disabled list most of his career and he has the worst career record of any pitcher in the game with at least 150 starts. But what I saw in Morton is a man who never quits. A man who has a goal, a vision and is relentless. This is a guy who could have used every injury as an excuse to quit and never feel like a failure, just a guy with bad luck whose body let him down. He could have used moving from team to team, or consistently under performing as a reason to quit. But he didn’t. What is clear is Morton’s resolve, his commitment, and the choice that he likely makes every single day to wake up, workout and do the things he needs to do to further his commitment. In doing that Morton was ready when life threw him the opportunity of his dreams, to be "The One” to step into his greatness and help his team win the World Series. How many of us quit long before life throws us the opportunity? How many of us are unwilling to keep going not knowing if we’ll ever get the opportunity? But Morton got to be the “The One” because he is willing to go further than most would have and he doesn’t quit regardless of the circumstances in his life.
The second thing became apparent to me when I read a friend’s Facebook post the next day. Danny Fish wrote,
"that (Dodgers) was a deflated system. Top to bottom. From the 6th inning on, there was no rally call. No fans standing in hope… No Johnny Damon smacking players’ asses when the red sox were down 3-0 in the series and 1 pitch away from elimination. No Michael Strahan smashing helmets before David Tyree made "that catch". No Jimmy Rollins when we (Phillies) lost 2 in a row vs Tampa…No Knute Rockne speeches. Nothing. Watch the game again. Watch the dugout. It was as if they had just been handed a cease-and-desist order. All it took was for one Dodger player to emphatically jump out of the dugout and lift his arms to rally the fans. Or smash a water cooler. Or charge the mound. Anything. Any freaking thing. But that moment did not come. Not for the Dodgers."
Reading Danny’s post I remember noticing that too, but couldn’t pinpoint what I was seeing. Why wasn't anybody making the choice to shift the “being” (attitude/presence/energy) of the whole team, the whole stadium? It would only take one player, one coach, or one fan to do something bold, daring, brave, courageous or vulnerable to shift the space of the entire teams' and stadiums’ energy, yet nobody chose it…nobody! The consequence was fatal for the Dodgers as it erased any chance of a comeback. As I thought more about this I realized this is exactly what we do in life. It’s heartbreaking… How many people are out there living a cease-and-desist order life"? How many have given up on their dreams? How many just eat, sleep, work and watch Netflix and are waiting out their days? How many have given up on love? Are defeated by racism? Politics? Sexism? Financial inequality? And like the Dodgers much of the time nobody is willing to be brave, courageous and vulnerable enough to stand up and be “The One" to shift something. That’s all life is, moment to moment choices. We either choose to do, choose to not do or don’t choose, which is essentially a choice to do nothing.
Charlie Morton, chose to be "The One". He didn’t just choose it that night for those innings, he chose it each time he showed up to training camp knowing he might not make the pro roster. He choose it every time he chose to move ahead with a career ending surgury and rehab yet again. He chose it every single time a team dropped him and he had to chose to go forward and workout for another club. He chose possibility, courage, his commitment and being "The One" over and over again. The Dodgers, when it mattered, didn’t. I assert that the difference between Morton, Johnny Damon, Michael Strahan and anyone else who chooses to be "The One" is self-love. Unwavering self-love gives them the self-trust, courage and bravery to risk being vulnerable in those moments when they know that it is possible the team and the fans might not follow their example or that their efforts won’t amount to a victory. Self-love gives those who choose to be great, the courage, trust and faith that things will be ok and that they can handle whatever shows up. Those who choose to be great, to be “The One”, aren’t stopped by fear, doubt or circumstances. They aren’t stopped because they know, down in their bones that regardless of the outcome they will be ok and able to handle whatever life throws in their path. They will choose over and over again to be "The One" because they love themselves enough to know that what most of us perceive as failure is simply another opportunity to rise up again...and that is the difference between those that are great and those that are forgotten.
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