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Effort: A Life Lesson From Baseball

The grass is getting green, the days are getting longer and baseball is just around the corner. The Minnesota Twins open up play on Monday afternoon at Camden Yards to take on the Baltimore Orioles and, to be totally honest, baseball has been on my mind a lot recently.

Baseball is a sign of warmer weather, which I am a fan of, but there are, of course, some life lessons to be learned from the game.

Let’s just look at one of the game’s most highlighted stats: batting average. A really good batting average is .300. That means a really good baseball player doesn’t get a hit in 70% of his at-bats. Only three times out of ten do really good baseball players succeed in getting a hit. That’s not a very high success rate, but they keep going back to the plate multiple times every single day.

The routine of baseball probably becomes a drag to some players because it is just that much of a routine. Every day you do the same thing from March through, if you’re lucky, October, but they do it and excel. Seven days a week.

I am a firm believer that the difference between great baseball players and so-so, ordinary players isn’t exactly skill and talent, but it is the difference between who has the dedication to be in the moment for every single pitch for 200-some games a year.

The world is still trying to determine what kind of baseball player Byron Buxton will be. Buxton didn’t show too much at the plate last season, but he still will be the Opening Day centerfielder for the Twins on Monday. Buxton certainly has the tools to be, this isn’t even an exaggeration, a Hall of Famer, but the jury is still out.

I think we found some solid proof on Thursday that Buxton will be great with this catch:

You might be asking: why this catch? Didn’t he do this last season already?

Yes, Buxton has always shown a flashy glove, but this was still Spring Training. Maybe at the beginning of spring, it wasn’t a certainty that Buxton would be on the Major League roster on Opening Day, but he knew he would be on the team for certain well before Thursday’s game. He still went all-out on that catch in a game that didn’t matter at all.

We can all learn from that. No matter what we are doing, every day we should be giving it our all.

John Wooden, one of the best basketball coaches of all time, agrees, but puts it a little differently. One of his most famous quotes which is one of my favorites is: “If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?”

It is easy to, to use another sports analogy, punt away a day. To simply give up on it or to not give your whole effort, but that won’t do you or anyone else any good. If you don’t give it your all, you’ll probably have to do it all over again.

Kottke Trucking recently has defined our core values and one of them is ‘doing it the right way’. There are many things that go into doing it the right way and one of them is always giving 110%.

Buxton’s effort and skills will lead him a boatload of money, fame and a mantle full of trophies in the world of baseball. Just think what might happen for you if you gave Byron Buxton’s over-the-shoulder spring-training-game effort every single day in everything that you do.

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