I’ve learned a few things in my life. The second- and third-most important lessons, of course, are “never get involved in a land war in Asia” and “never go against a Sicilian when death is on the line.” (Thanks, Vizzini.)
But the most important lesson is: “Life WILL throw you curveballs. It’s how you deal with them that dictates your happiness and success.” (You can use that if you want, just give me the credit or my lawyers will get you.)
Which leads me to Tim Wakefield, who retired from professional baseball today.
Drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1988, he was actually a first baseman. But because his skills with the bat were not Major League caliber, he gave pitching a shot by learning to throw a knuckleball — a highly difficult pitch to master (since it’s nearly impossible to control where it goes). Heck, he got so good at it, his picture is on the Wiki page.
Wakefield rose through the ranks to reach “The Show” and stay there. And for 19 years, he baffled hitters (and often, his catchers) with the fluttering pitch that few others have thrown with long-term success.
He finished his career with 200 wins, 2,156 strikeouts and more than $55 million in career earnings. (Info courtesy his page at Baseball-Reference.com.)
All this from a guy who was good enough to reach the minor leagues as a position player, but not good enough (as a hitter) to make the leap to the big leagues.
So when you’re told you’re not good enough, or you encounter an obstacle that you think will ruin your life…remember Tim Wakefield. And do whatever the equivalent of “learning the knuckleball” is to your life.
(Bet you didn’t think I’d get all “personal development-y” on you. Not normally my style.)
I wrote all this because (as you might have read here in other posts) life has thrown my family and I more than our fair share of knee-buckling, 12-to-6 curveballs that stopped us in our tracks. Health issues, layoffs, you name it. But I/we learned to adjust, adapt and go on to find our happiness.
Your turn, kid. Get in the game, and be ready for the curveball — because it’s comin’.