I follow a blog out of Seattle called USS Mariner. It contains some of the best insights into baseball that you will ever read.
One of yesterday’s posts centered around the cliches baseball uses to explain normal statistical patterns. (I know, only in baseball.)Things like, “His arm’s getting tired,” or, “He’s not used to playing everyday,” or the all-encompassing, “162 games is a long season.” The truth is, if a lifetime .250 hitter has been crushing the ball at .400, and now he’s scraping out .100, that’s not a slump, the guy’s just coming back to average.
I think of the times in my own life when success comes easy or when failure is the pattern. As Judge Elihu Smails once phrased so majestically, “It’s easy to grin / when your ship comes in / and you’ve got the stock market beat. / But the man worthwhile / is the man who can smile / when his shorts are too tight in the seat”…ah-ha-ha-ha. OK, Pookie, do the honors.” We think success is mostly our effort, while failure is mostly something else’s fault.
Is it ever appropriate to look at life as a average pattern over time? Would that help keep us humble in victory, and encouraged in defeat?
In baseball, you’re pretty much guaranteed 54 wins and 54 losses. The difference in the making the playoffs or early September elimination is what happens in the other 54 games. Life transformation over time is an exercise in averages. Too often we focus on streaks and slumps, and view ourselves and each other in light of a period of time rather than a lifetime.
I don’t want to be a streak hitter, I want to be a man, who overtime, improves and sustains the average good and the average righteousness in my life. I want to see my streaks as seasons of blessing, see my failures as momentary setbacks, and recognize the gradual process of loooking like Jesus.