Tuesday, April 18, 2006

following the right path

Today my son decided to quit the high school baseball team. A couple of years ago, this would have been unthinkable due to his love of the sport. He was considered good and he worked hard. But the last couple of years, when he made it to the varsity team, he hardly ever played. Playing time is the only way to get better. That is a simple fact. As a pitcher, it is even harder than most other positions because lack of playing time makes each sporadic trip to the mound less likely to be successful. His coaches made up their minds that they didn’t have any faith in him. At the same time, he has broadened his horizons and now loves music and playing the guitar. He has chosen a college and playing baseball is no longer on the radar. I am sure that many parents would say that he should finish out the season. I thought about it but leaving the team seemed like the right thing to do. Since he hardly ever plays and since this is his last semester, he will hurt no one by leaving. It will give a younger player on the JV team a chance to move up and he will be free of the pain of not having the support of his coaches.
I happened to open a book that my friend Val just wrote, “The Handbook of Everyday Wisdom” to the saying, “Perseverance doesn’t always pay off. Sometimes it is better to step back, review your options, and then take a different path.”

Today, my son quit the baseball team and the track coach asked him to try out for track. He had to run the 400-meter sprint, twice! When I got home, he was flat on his back, exhausted. But he was also full of plans, of getting in shape after months of sitting on the bench in the dugout and of improving his time enough to be able to compete in the next track meet.

I know he made the right decision. He is already in a better place!


At 4:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's so nice, that my book had something to help in that!
The story behind that lesson for me was from many years ago, sitting in a restaurant and watching a fly trying to get outside by continually flying into the glass window.
I could see that no matter how hard he flew against the window, and no matter how many times he tried, he would never get through the glass window, and no amount of perseverence would change that.

However, just about 12 feet away was a wide open doorway. All that fly had to do to get what he wanted was to step back and look around for another alternative. Another, better path.

We are taught from the time we are young that perseverence pays off in the end, and that it is the only way to achieve your goals. Successful people often say that they gained their success through sheer willpower and perseverence.
I think that is a slight misdirection.

Perseverence is important IF you are on the right path in the first place. Sometimes you're not, in which case, time spent in a vain enterprise is wasted, and that's why, when you are not making progress after reasonable effort, it's always good to step back and gain some perspective. If there is a better path, take it. But if that path you were on really is the best path, then you might want to get back at it and stay the course.

At 6:46 PM, Blogger the old bag said...

Love the quote about taking a different path!

At 8:06 PM, Blogger Ptelea said...

I guess after further thought, it seems like it is good not to fear a change in course - after carefully waying the options. In real life, the right path is not always obvious but often the wrong path is. So maybe getting off what is surely the wrong path is better even if you are not moving to the absolute right path! And as you say, Val, it is best not to shut the door on the path you left if you can help it and don't fear getting back on it if that WAS the right path after all! It's about listening to yourself and being flexible/open to change!


Post a Comment

<< Home