How A Phillies Loss Gave Me a Lesson In Gratitude

20 Jun

I had tickets to the Phillies game last night but unfortunately I also had a meeting to attend.  I was disappointed but I told my husband that it would be a great night to take some of his friends to the game and have a “boys’ night out” at the ball park. When he later told me that one of his friends was bringing his 16-year old son, who had never seen a game at Citizens Bank Park, I was thrilled.

I like nothing more than introducing someone to the joys of a night at that beautiful ballpark.   So decked out in Phillies red, they headed off to the game while I, dressed in black, headed off to my meeting.  Truth be told, I was still a little bummed but it was tempered by the fact that my ticket had been given to someone who I hoped would really enjoy the experience.

While at my meeting, we heard from a speaker who made some thought-provoking remarks about happiness.  She said that while the outside events in our lives have something to do with whether we’re happy or not, the major factor determining our state of mind is actually in our control.

She went on to explain how habits, bad or good become habits through repetition and we can change those habits, and our state of mind, by changing our routine and then repeating that change.

She used the example of starting every day with gratitude. That even if things may be tough in some areas of our lives, that we can still find at least one thing to be grateful for and we should start our day expressing gratitude for even that one thing.

She admitted that it wasn’t easy to develop a new skill, that it might feel forced or awkward at first, but she assured us that with practice, giving gratitude could become a habit that could have a positive impact on our state of mind.

I left the meeting thinking about her words and how I’m really not grateful enough for what I have in my life and, if I’m really honest, I spend a lot more energy complaining about what I don’t have.   I could definitely do a better job with that gratitude thing and I resolved to try.

By the time I arrived home the game was in the seventh inning, the Phillies leading 2-1.  Well, as you know by now, Jonathan Papelbon blew his second save in three games, wasting a brilliant performance by Kyle Kendrick and eventually costing his team the victory and a sweep over the Washington Nationals as the Phillies lost 6-2 in 11 innings.

Perhaps this wasn’t the best moment for me to practice my new-found gratitude skills but I mostly felt bad for my friend’s son, that his memory of his first game would always be marred by the disastrous  ending.  When my husband finally got home, we debriefed about our nights and then I said I was really sorry that his friend’s son’s  first Phillies game had to end like that.  I asked if he was upset by the loss?

My husband said he had felt the same way and told the 16-year-old as they were driving home that he was sorry about the game.

His reply:

“Sorry?  I had a great time.  It was a beautiful night.  I had my first ballpark hot dog with mustard and I was here with my Dad.  We saw a great game, a nail biter till the end. And we even got extra innings.  It was perfect.” 

Now that, my friends in baseball, is a lesson in gratitude for you.

He wasn’t upset that our $50 million closer, Jonathan Papelbon blew his second save in three games or that the Phillies offense didn’t get a single hit between the first inning and the tenth.  It didn’t kill him that the game-tying hit came off the bat of former Phil, Jayson Werth with two outs in the ninth–two outs!

No.  Instead he chose to focus on the good things about his night at the ballpark.  So on the same night that I learned about the theory of giving gratitude, I also learned from a 16-year-old boy how it’s done.

I will admit that I am not as proud of my less grateful reaction to last night’s Phillies loss: screaming at my tv, banging my fist and burying my sorrows in a bowl of coffee ice cream.

Oh well, our speaker did say it is a skill that takes practice.  In my case, when it comes to the Phillies, I’m afraid it may take a lot of practice.

But let me start with this.  I have gratitude for the fact that the Phillies are off tonight.

Ok, so it’s not great.  But it’s a start.


10 Responses to “How A Phillies Loss Gave Me a Lesson In Gratitude”

  1. Shirley June 20, 2013 at 12:28 pm #

    Great story….that 16 year old boy is something else! I’m really going to try and take a lesson from him…..

  2. Michael Gillen June 20, 2013 at 1:58 pm #

    A good one, right to the end (blog, not game). Frankly though, I almost lost it when you described the boy’s reaction to your reaction. You could have ended right there.

    • girlsbestphriend June 21, 2013 at 9:19 am #

      Interesting point. But then I wouldn’t have gotten to vent about my team 🙂 Sorry I missed you yesterday. Hope to see you guys soon.

  3. Fern June 21, 2013 at 4:14 am #

    Fabulous blog. Susan, I am grateful that you are such a great writer and soulful being…..and funny too.

    • girlsbestphriend June 21, 2013 at 9:20 am #

      Thanks, Fernie. I really appreciate your words. And I’m glad you’re “back on the blog.” 🙂

  4. Alan Dickler June 22, 2013 at 3:51 am #

    Great read. I too try to be grateful every day. Having you Jan drew and Spence in my life makes it so

    • girlsbestphriend June 22, 2013 at 10:13 am #

      What a great way to start my day, Alan. Thanks! I have often thought that you are a great example of someone who lives the gratitude model. For me, it’s still a developing skill.

  5. George June 22, 2013 at 1:20 pm #

    Excellent. Teens today seem to have refreshing perspectives. Even the 15 yr. old son of my transgender buddy from high school (guy becomes girl) stated what better way to understand acceptance than to have a transgendered parent. Back to the issue, though, just like drag racers that are built to go a short distance very quickly, JP goes short distances and needs the machinery to work around him. I think the game was blown by Freddy when he missed JP’s mit, which perfectly framed the target for Freddy to throw that guy out at first. So Susan, while you were screaming at JP, I was screaming at Freddy. Either way, there is something therapeutic about screaming as well as a teen’s perspective. Thanks for both!

    • girlsbestphriend June 24, 2013 at 10:49 am #

      You win the award for best first comment ever. Nice to have you on board!

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