This is always a great time of year in my opinion. I’m a big sports guy so the nexus of late season baseball, early season football, the start of hockey season and many other options offer a cornucopia of viewing and rooting choices for your entertainment. I decided to take advantage of this athletic abundance to offer a short piece of advice related to sports. It’s pretty simple. Never take a third strike.
So what does that mean. In batting sports (think baseball or softball), batter and pitchers battle around a series of pitches that can’t exceed three strikes or four balls. Strikes can be called when a batter swings and misses or when she doesn’t swing but the pitch comes across the plate between the shoulders and knees. There’s really nothing wrong with taking the first or second strike without swinging. Nothing is lost except an opportunity to swing and the batter might get a better idea of how the pitcher is throwing. However, when a batter takes a third strike, he essentially cedes the battle to the pitcher with no effort applied. I’ve heard it compared to playing poker and just giving the other players your chips without even playing your hand. The best hitters keep swinging and fouling off the pitch until they get one they like. They shape the opportunity to their advantage.
How does this apply in life. Most of don’t get put in single opportunity situations where the one chance we have makes or breaks our reputations, our careers or our lives. However, each of us get second (or third, fourth, etc) chances after falling short on our first try at something. When given that second chance, or seizing it on your own initiative, don’t act like you’ll get another chance. Swing at every pitch and keep hacking away until you get one you can put over the fence. One thing that is certain is that our chances don’t run on forever.