Choosing Your Own Basepath

Relationships are like base-running.
Yes, I know baseball season is over, but many recent events have reaffirmed how important it is to make choices that you want, not what anyone else wants. And it sparked yet another Kim Hartman baseball-life analogy.

For example, say someone is running the bases and decides to stretch a single into a double, or a double into a triple. Often times, if the runner is thrown out, people will criticize him. “What a foolish risk. That was bad base-running,” they’ll say. However, if the runner is safe, people will applaud the athlete. “What heads-up aggressiveness that was. Great base-running,” they’ll say.
The decision to keep running was the same in both cases. But because the outcome was different, the action was judged right or wrong.
Let’s take the flip scenario. The runner decides to hold up when he or she could’ve made it to the next base. They are criticized for being conservative. But if they had kept running and gotten out, they would be criticized for being too aggressive.
My point is that no one knows what’s going to happen, whether they’re rounding the basepath or making a difficult life decision. To quit or keep going? To forgive or not to forgive? To take a chance with abandon or to play it safe?
If you go for it, you hope that the throw is off-target. Or that the cutoff man bobbles the ball to give you a few extra precious seconds to slide in safe. But if the throws come in dead-on, you may be out by a mile. Of course, you can make educated guesses by taking the strength of the fielder’s arm and your own running speed into account. But that only takes you so far.
And that’s what makes both baseball and life both so exciting and so heart-breaking. You never know what’s going to happen. Do you leave a fatigued pitcher in the game to squeeze one last inning out of him, or do you go to the bullpen? Do you take the pitch on a 3-1 count, or do you swing away?
In life, we ask ourselves:  Was I too harsh? Should I have said something? Did I give up too soon? Did I hang on too long?
You never know whether the choices you make in the moment are going to work out in the end. And the truth is that the outcome doesn’t matter, because no one knows the outcome for sure.
People, much like broadcasters, often judge someone’s decision AFTER the outcome was determined. Things are easy to say after the fact. But where was their opinion when the base-runner was rounding second? They were holding their breath, just like everyone else.
My point: Whether you end up being safe or out doesn’t matter. What matters is that you made the decision you wanted to make. So that no matter how things turn out, you can look back and say, “That choice was mine.”
Fortunately, in both life and baseball, we have our coaches, our teammates, the people we love and trust to consult with. But ultimately, the decision is yours.

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