A story with a lesson for every sport…
The baseball rose rapidly; a hit off of legendary Babe Ruth’s bat. All eyes in the huge stadium were fixed intently on the ball’s trajectory: Would it be the record breaker? Then the ball cleared the fence for home run number 60—an all time record! The crowd reacted dramatically, rising in terrific excitement; 60,000 people, screaming and shouting. Babe Ruth had done it! That 1927 game marked one of the most memorable moments in sports history: a Home Run record which lasted for decades. Ruth was ennobled by adoring fans and reporters as having had “The best season any player ever had.”
However, 1927 was a year for Ruth in which he actually struck out at the plate 89 times. That’s right—far more often, Babe struck out instead of landing those home runs. Ruth experienced a mid season slump, where he had a devil of a time connecting with the ball—certainly nothing close to a home run slug. At one point during this slump, Ruth was frustrated enough to angrily kick, and dent, his team’s water cooler.
Although it couldn’t have been easy, Ruth’s many strike outs are a reflection of the incredible amount of will, effort and intensity he brought to the plate each time. He held nothing back in his batting attempts, missing frequently and often wildly, even spinning around and falling face first in the dust—but he never backed off his training. Ruth was willing to continue to shed his energy hitting until he finally got out of the low period he was in. Then he began whaling away again, hitting homers at a record pace.
Babe Ruth was a man who knew how to manage his emotions positively by utilizing the energy which sprung from them. He had a lifelong habit of keeping his mind focused on the things he wanted—his home run goals—rather than dwelling on his strike outs or the things holding him back. He knew which of the two he wanted to be remembered for, and he was correct in saying that people would only remember his successful record home runs. Ruth’s positive, determined attitude gave him the power of action necessary to hit the 60 mark of home runs. He valued success more highly than “form” or “style”.
The point worth considering is that if Ruth had been a shallow, inadequate thinker who gave up at the first failure instead applying a tremendous strength towards deliberately keeping his mind on the prize, he would not have attained such a prestigious place in Baseball record books. As I look at Babe Ruth, these same skills apply to a boxer. Handle the losses the same as the victories. Keep your mind on the goal!
Written by Ted Luzzi & Andrea Cebreros