Last week, I spent time at spring training again with a couple of pro baseball teams we work with at Growing Leaders. As a lifelong baseball fan, it’s always one of the highlights of my year! While watching the San Francisco Giants warm up on the field—the thought struck me: these guys just hoisted a World Series trophy in the air a year and a half ago…and now they are doing basic drills like running the bases, catching ordinary fly balls in the outfield, bunting, and stretching. It was funny because I was watching Tim Lincecum (a two-time Cy Young Award winner) Matt Cain, Jeremy Affeldt, Buster Posey and other greats practicing like they were Little Leaguers.
Then it struck me. Of course they are. The reason they remain contenders for a championship is not only their talent but the fact they’re willing to do the drills year in and year out. These gifted, rich major league baseball players were practicing the fundamentals.
Later that day, another thought struck me.
While conversing with Dayton Moore, General Manager for the Kansas City Royals, he shared with me the challenge our culture presents for his young players and his own sons at home.
We are raising our kids today, not on drills but on highlights.
Many young boys I talk to start their day by watching Sports Center on ESPN. I have to admit I love it, too. But this show is all about highlights. I rarely ever see them show athletes working out or practicing. They show games…and not just games, but the really fun part of the games—when a player makes a great catch or a great kick or a great hit. And our children today tune in and often, that’s all they see. The highlights.
Of course, the outcome is: they want a life of highlights. Why wouldn’t they? Not seeing all the disciplined and difficult moments of the private practice, they see the glitz and glamour of the best moments in the contest, where all the fans are cheering and all the fun is happening.
Call me crazy but may I challenge you with a reminder?
Somewhere, we must be intentional as adults, to not only give our kids a taste of the game’s “highlights” but of the moments when those highlights are earned through practice, rehearsal, purpose and discipline in the private moments when no one is watching, tweeting or texting anyone. They must know that great public moments are paid for by private disciplined hours of getting ready. Pay now, play later.