Is Baseball Spiritual?

Every strike brings me closer to the next home run. -Babe Ruth

When baseball is put in the context of a story that I heard from one of my dear mentors, it certainly can be. I am not usually one for remembering jokes and stories, but this one really stuck with me because it was a very clear example of how perception, or one’s perspective really functions. It is also a tale of wisdom. Another reason I really liked this story was because it was short, but packed full of little nuggets I could remember and take with me. So, what is this amazing story you may be asking? Umpire Well, maybe it is not super amazing, but it is “The Tale of Three Umpires” and it goes like this: Three umpires were standing around and talking at home plate, waiting for the home team to take the field. They were discussing how they each call balls and stikes. “I may be a new umpire,” said the first one, “but it just isn’t that hard. I call them as they are.” The second umpire smiled and shook his head knowingly, for as a more experienced umpire, he knows that isn’t really the case. “I used to think I called them as they were, but now I know better. I call them as I see them.” The third umpire, the most experienced and wisest of the three, smiled and shook his head knowingly. “I used to think that I called them as they are, and then I realized that I simply called them the way I saw them. But now I know they ain’t nothin’ until I call ‘em.” Baseball-2 This story exemplifies the growth of wisdom through experience and understanding. The first umpire thinks he is dealing in facts, that the thoughts in his head are the Truth. Like us, he is making judgment calls as we do about ourselves: “I’m not good enough,” “I can’t do …,” I will look ridiculous,” “I’m a disappointment.” The next thing we know, life reveals itself to be consistent with our thoughts, providing further evidence for our self-proclaimed statements.   The second umpire realizes that he makes judgments about what he saw, that he doesn’t deal in facts. When we find ourselves at this stage, we realize that our perspectives and attitudes have a big influence on how we experience and live our lives. At this point, we are also open to learning from others, reading books, taking classes, and workshops that help us develop our potential and get past obstacles that present themselves in our lives.   The third umpire knows he has the power to choose his perspective and that his choice is what determines “reality” for him. When we reach this stage, we realize that not only does our attitude affect our actions but we can also choose our attitude. Regardless of circumstances, at this point, we see ourselves as the source of our choices and actions. We are no longer victims of circumstances, but take responsibility for our thoughts, emotions, and choices every moment of every day.

Which umpire are you going to be today?