Thursday, October 8, 2009

It's only a game!

I was very competitive as a kid when it came to playing little league baseball and I remember always putting forth genuine effort and playing with lots of heart. I always tried my best and always felt a sense of accomplishment when I would get on base with a hit or make a good play in the field. When our team won I remember we would celebrate and we were very happy. When we lost we would feel bad but coach would give us the same speech no matter what. He would praise us for playing hard no matter what the outcome but the feeling after a win was certainly much nicer and it was always nice when we won because coach would treat us all to pizza and soda. I have learned over the years that you can't always win. Even the best teams in the majors lose games.

Perfection is always something we should strive for but is one of those ideals that is virtually impossible to attain. It amazes me that for as long as the New York Mets team has been in existence no Met pitcher while pitching for the Mets has pitched a no hitter. There have been former Met pitchers who have pitched no hitters and even perfect games with other teams. Tom Seaver had 3 no hitters go until the ninth inning when he pitched with the Mets but each one was broken up with a base hit. He finally did pitch a no hitter with the Reds. Watching a no hitter is exciting and nerve wracking at the same time and you seem to get caught up in it when you realize late in the game that one is taking place. A perfect game is 27 batters up and 27 batters successfully retired by the pitcher. No one opposing the pitcher gets on base and this is one of the hardest things to achieve as a pitcher but it has been done and I believe Nolan Ryan has the record for most combined no hitters/perfect games who also was a former Met.

I learned over the years that sports should not always be about winning because then it sometimes takes the fun out of the game. I believe we should try our best and obviously we should always strive to win but that should not be the only thing we play for. I always tell my son that it is not always about winning but more about trying your best and having fun also. The same can be said about anything we are involved in including sports, school, homework, hobbies, chores, work and whatever is important to us.

Whatever we do we should always strive to do it the best we can and always practice so we can master it. Life lessons are learned by experiencing and also failing. We have to remember that we will not always be happy with the end result all the time and sometimes we will have disappointment. It is during this time that we should learn and gain insight so we can improve and finally achieve the desired result. I think we sometimes feel a great amount of pressure because we have to please so many. The first one we should learn to please is our self because if you are not happy doing something because you are being pushed to much then you will realize that the interest and enthusiasm will quickly go away. We want to achieve and enjoy ourselves also without the continuing pressures of always having to win. We have to sometimes distance ourselves from the pressures of competition and remember that in the end it is only a game. I have seen interviews with Olympic star athletes who lost their childhood innocence because they were pushed to much and forced into competition and eventually were affected in an unhealthy way. For example look at all the young women gymnasts competing and see what their daily schedule is like and all the sacrifices they and their families have to make to support them in their athletic pursuits. It is enough to break your spirit and so many are deeply affected and struggle emotionally as a result.

I always tell my son the most important thing to remember in life is that we are here for a reason and God wants us to live our life in a way that our parents would be proud and we will strive to do well and show respect, honor, dignity, humility, confidence and above all have a healthy outlook and enjoy all our pursuits whether they be directed in sports, music, art, science, helping others or just trying to be a better person. I know my son and I know he has some wonderful gifts and he also has some mighty struggles but I know he has a spirit that soars and he is very courageous and is a happy child who makes me smile everyday. Maria and I have a lot of pride in our son and I always felt my mom and dad felt the same way about my sisters and I.

So next time the Mets lose a big game I will always remember these words "It's only a game." In fact this is the saying I will teach my son so he knows the true meaning and importance of having fun in whatever we try to do our best in. It's not always about winning but having fun and putting our best effort forward.

Edward D. Iannielli III

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Please feel free to read my writings and leave a kind message or suggestion. Thank you. Emily