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Economic Development is . . . (increasing the flow) of capital through the community and reducing its leakage.

A baseball lesson

Another page turns and another season is upon us, spring is here. This season of new beginnings turns many of us to the sport of baseball. It is a big time of year in our family as I am starting my 8th year of coaching youth baseball. My youngest son Cael is in his final year of little league, so I’ve been thinking about the great game for months now.

It is strange as someone who only spent just a few years actually playing organized baseball (only in little league) as a father it has become a huge part of my life, and I must admit this game has taught me a great deal about myself. Whether you’ve played baseball, watch it as a fan, or even if you think it’s boring (which I know some of you do), trust me the game can teach all of us many important lessons about business and our lives.

The main lesson that baseball has taught me about myself is that I HATE LOSING.  To say I hate it with a passion would be putting it mildly. After losing it’s difficult for me to eat, much less sleep. One time my son’s team blew a game that the other team handed to us. It was our second stinging loss in a row. I realized the sick fact that I hate losing way more than I love winning (I must be deranged right?). I can remember it like it was yesterday, my family went out to eat after the game, and I sat there staring straight ahead speechless.  But later that night, in conversation with my wife, I eventually came to peace with the outcome (sort of).

Unlike other sports, baseball is incredibly unpredictable. It’s definitely not like individual sports like tennis, golf, track or wrestling. And it’s far less predictable than basketball or football. I had to come to grips with the fact that some days, you do everything right and the team will still play like the “Bad News Bears”. They may do so again the next day, and the next. Then, from out of nowhere, the same team will get hot and go on a streak that makes them unbeatable. I’m hoping, no, I’m expecting this will happen with our team this year.

The take-away from recognizing my hatred of losing – I don’t ever want to forget the pain of losing. It is a true blessing in disguise in my opinion. I believe the pain does one of two things to us all; it either drives you to get better and succeed or it makes you give up. And have learned that I choose to fight on.

As we move forward and build our businesses and Tama County’s economy we are going to have some losses along the way, it’s unavoidable. I hope you will remember the beautiful way the game of baseball can teach us how to live life to its fullest and fight on.

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