The Closer

9_18_11.jpegI want to be a closer in baseball. Or at least I want to think like one.  I was watching a game on TV and one of the best closers in baseball gave up back to back home runs and his team lost the game.  The next night he gets another chance to close out the game. This time: he walks the first batter, hits the second batter, and the third batter hits a double which scores two runs.  They lose again.

Reporters swarm the closer after the game, hoping to get a swearing, out-of-control athlete who will throw equipment and have a meltdown for all to see.  The network news will then reply his weak moment over and over again, happily letting the world see a man who has failed.  The viewing public will stop everything they are doing to see this piece of entertainment every time it’s shown.

However, to the dismay of news producers, the baseball closer sits at his locker; ten microphones shoved in his face, and without flinching, tell the reporters what they don’t want to hear.  “If you are going to be a closer in baseball, you have to have a short memory.  You walk off the field and take the loss, you forget it happened and get back out there the next day and do your job.” He says picking a piece of string off his jersey as if the cameras don’t exist.

“But you’ve blown two in a row, do you feel you’ve lost your confidence?” barks a reporter from the back, trying his best to get the player to lose his cool.

The closer, looking at the piece of string before tossing it over his shoulder, looks back at the reporter and shrugs his shoulders.  “Those games are over, they’re irrelevant to me.  Tomorrow I will wake up and start all over again.”

A few nights ago, I had a bad night putting my kids to sleep: they took forever getting their pajamas on, they were playing instead of going to the bathroom, and every time I’d get one in the bedroom I would see another one come back out to play. By the time I had them all in their room to read stories, I was yelling and told them “no books” and left the room to crying children as I turned off the light and barked one more “Go to sleep.” for good measure.

I went upstairs and without turning on the lights, sat in the living room; the darkness allowing my brain to form a complete thought. It didn’t take long for me to be disappointed in myself for not having enough patience.  I wanted to the day to be over and what were kids being kids, I used as an excuse so I could get out of going through their entire nighttime routine.  It was the end of the day and I blew the final inning. I walked the first batter, hit the second, and then gave up a double to lose the game, kids crying and all.

“I blew the game tonight.” I told myself. “I need to have a short memory, for when I go to bed and wake up in the morning, I will be given the ball again, and if by chance, I happen to blow it two nights in a row, then the day after that I will go back out and try again.”

The difference between a Hall of Famer and a player in the minors isn’t the blown saves, everybody loses games. It’s the ability of the Hall of Famer to walk off the field and forget about it before he steps into the locker room that makes the difference.

 


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