Written By Dalton Ruer
I started this series by asking you to consider the “big picture” and the Sacrifices it took to make it possible.
I then asked you to simply Recognize the EXCELLENCE as the artist did who took the photo.
In my last post I asked you to look a bit closer and consider the Relationships of the players that comprise the team spread across the image.
In this final post regarding this photo I’m going to ask you to really narrow your focus and consider a single player on the team. Imagine if you will her story. Think you have her figured out? I do.
Regardless who you’ve chosen to focus your vision on in the photo. Batter. Pitcher. Infielder. Outfielder. I can tell you the most important the most important thing in the world about them. Not because I’ve spent a lot of time with them but because I’ve read about them.
Ephesians chapter 2 verse 10 says “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”
If you happened to have selected a player who led the league in home runs last year would that make her any more EXCELLENT than the fact that she has been individually crafted by God to fulfill a special purpose designed just for her? Likewise striking out during every at bat couldn’t possibly detract from the immense value of God having designed her in perfection through Christ.
I know what you are thinking “Well that could be true but this is a softball blog and we were talking about EXCELLENCE on the field.” I’m talking about her innate EXCELLENCE because it very much translates to the ball field. How we see one another determines how we treat one another.
It’s easy to turn your back on a teammate who doesn’t exhibit the same kind of work ethic you’ve been used to seeing. But if you consider the fact that she’s already tremendously special then YOU will behave differently towards them. YOU won’t be so quick to snicker about them. YOU just may be willing to do something crazy like take the leading in trying to build a relationship with her and figure out where her lack of drive is coming from.
It’s also easy for us to over praise a teammate/player because of the great things she accomplishes on the field. That can create jealousy among others and can create a huge amount of pressure for the player who then feels like she has to carry the team and can never have a human moment. She has to hide her weaknesses, her fears and can begin losing herself in the process.
More importantly how we view others on this 1 simple matter also plays out in how we see ourselves. We writhe in depression and beat ourselves up over what we don’t do on the field feeling that we are letting others down or feeling like we are losers. Likewise we revolve all of our self worth around our accomplishments and then crash, hard, when we go into a slump or don’t succeed.
There is EXCELLENCE in every aspect of this photo.
EXCELLENCE in the sky that God painted by hand.
EXCELLENCE in the sacrifices of those that made the stadium possible and maintain it.
EXCELLENCE in the eye and heart of the amazing woman who took the photo.
EXCELLENCE in the relationships developing amongst the players on the team.
EXCELLENCE in each individual player.
And my friend I know there is EXCELLENCE in the person viewing the photo and reading this post. For it is when we treat each other like we truly believe each other is EXCELLENT instead of just giving it lip surface to the concept of a team that true EXCELLENCE on the field can take place.
When we make it clear to one another that we truly care and truly value each other just because they are who they are that everyone can then take risks. THEY can become more aggressive on the field instead of playing it safe. WE can become more aggressive on the field instead of playing it safe. Those errors that used to cause a huge downside quickly get flushed because they know we truly care and aren’t going to hold it against them. We flush our own errors knowing that they aren’t going to be held against us.
The standing around on bases waiting for someone to hit us in translates into our becoming more aggressive on the bases and taking risks that can “manufacture” runs that we ordinarily wouldn’t have gotten.
The fundamental part of each great team is simply a recognition that we are already EXCELLENT and we value each other. We highly value each other.
Coaches are you treating your players like they matter just for who they are or do certain players get all of your praise for what they do while others earn your obvious angst when they don’t come through?
Players are you treating your teammates like they matter just for who they are or do you make it clear through your actions that you simply don’t care for some of them because they are “dead weight” in terms of productivity for the team?
Coaches and players how do you treat the umpires after they’ve made a call you don’t like? Do you treat them like human beings who have an immense value and who could simply have a different angle/view than you and perhaps even had their eyes closed on the play, or do you treat them like they are worthless.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. I’ve used more than 1,000 to describe this great scene through these first four posts on EXCELLENCE. I’ll end by using just a few more. True EXCELLENCE can only be attained when we realize that all of us already have immeasurable value. That nothing we do can add to it. And that nothing we do can subtract from it. For only then will we release others and ourselves to become all that we have within us to become. Only then can we take risks without a fear of failure and achieve EXCELLENCE on the field.
Dalton Ruer: Coach Ruer has been using softball to encourage and motivate athletes for 15 years. Throughout the year he is a private softball instructor to many college bound athletes in Georgia. He facilitates team based clinics and instructs at many elite and college recruiting softball camps. His specialties are helping players verbalize their dreams and establish a plan to achieve them and helping players overcome the fears that are holding them back from being exceptional athletes. He has produced 6 instructional DVD’s covering all aspects of how to win the short game and how to dive for the ball. Keep up with Coach Dalton by visiting his blog and resource site at CrossTrainingSoftball.com.
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