If At First You Don’t Succeed

1 Mar

Roy Halladay started his first Grapefruit League game yesterday.  He returned to his old Spring Training home in Dunedin, Florida and pitched against his former team, the Toronto Blue Jays.  Normally the soft-spoken Halladay lets his pitching do all the talking but this time it was something he said after his two-hit, no run, warm-up against the Jays, that stuck with me.

When Roy was asked if it was nice to be back in the familiar clubhouse where he had spent so many Spring Trainings, Halladay smiled.

“I got sent down (to the minors) 4 times in the office back there, the last of which was to A Ball.  I’ll be glad to get out of here today.”

These days Roy can say this with a laugh but when you watch his dominance on the mound, it’s easy to forget that in 2001, he went 4-7 with a 10.64 ERA resulting in one of those trips to the minors.

And he’s not alone.  Another Phils Ace Cliff Lee was sent down to the minors as recently as 2007 when he struggled with his control.

“I did use it as motivation,” Lee said.  “Over time, I think I changed the way I look at things.  Rather than worry about stuff, I tried to take whatever I could that was positive out of a situation and use that.  When you struggle you can handle it in one of two ways:  you can blame everybody or you can turn it into something good.”

I would say Lee took choice B.  Big time.

I love stories like these, stories of athletes overcoming adversity to achieve success.  I think we all do. It reminds us that they are human.  It reminds them of how hard-earned and precious the special moments truly are.

And I think it provides a valuable lesson even for those of us not on the big stage of professional sports.  To not let a setback beat us, no matter how devastating it may seem at the time.  To not let one failure or even several failures (remember Halladay got sent down 4 times) define who we are.

For me, I’m encouraged to keep on with this blog writing thing.

For all of us, no matter what we do, we have to be willing to fail since it’s often only through failure that we truly succeed.  As Babe Ruth once said when asked about his record high number of strike-outs,

“Every strike, brings me closer to the next home run!”

And who’s gonna argue with the Babe?

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2 Responses to “If At First You Don’t Succeed”

  1. geetie March 1, 2011 at 12:52 pm #

    An encouraging word—Keep on with the blog.Good Stuff!!!

  2. girlsbestphriend March 1, 2011 at 12:54 pm #

    Thanks. I’ll keep writing as long as you keep reading!

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