Voice From The Bullpen

There are times in our lives when those little annoying things happen that may cause us some stress. Sometimes it seems like those times come in bulk, or at least in “threes,” as the saying goes, and most often the key to all of those situations might be in how we react to them and deal with them. I know some happenings and occurrences in our lives are more devastating, and can’t just be “blown off,” but many things we encounter, or that encounter us, are just bumps in our road, and are fixable if we just stop and take a deep breath before reacting without thinking. Many of us, myself probably at the top of the list, don’t always heed that advice, and we usually end up adding even more stress to our minds and hearts when that happens.

As an official “Parrot Head,” and follower of Jimmy Buffett, I enjoy his “storytelling” lyrics to many of his songs and one of my favorites, which I thought about with regard to today’s topic, is a song titled, “Breathe In, Breathe Out, Move On.”

Some of the lyrics in that song are:

“I bought a cheap watch from a crazy man, floating down canal

It doesn’t use numbers or moving hands, it always just says now

Now you may be thinking that I was had, but this watch is never wrong

And if I have trouble the warranty said, Breathe In, Breathe Out, Move On.”

Later on in the song were the words:

“If a hurricane doesn’t leave you dead, it will make you strong,

Don’t try to explain it, just nod your head, Breathe In, Breathe Out, Move On.”

And still later the lyrics read:

“According to my watch the time is now, past is dead and gone,

Don’t try to shake it, just nod your head, Breathe In, Breathe Out, Move On.”

Many of us have heard the expression, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” Great advice, but often very hard to do. People are passionate, people are intense, people are caring and conscientious, and, at times, many of us try to be perfect in what we try to do each day, or we want things to go a particular way, and striving for that perfection sometimes trips us up, or somewhat may cloud our judgment. When things don’t go as planned, we may become upset and/or tense, making the chance of dealing with the situation smoothly, anything but that. That being said, we should always continue to strive for perfection to be able to reach excellence, but maybe when things pop up and block one path, causing us to have to turn to Plan B, or re-route our journey a bit, maybe we need to just “nod our heads” and “Breathe In, Breathe Out, Move On.”

I will be the first to admit that I need a lot of work in doing this. I can recall, many situations where bigger things have happened and I have looked at a situation with a broad perspective, and have acted accordingly, controlling what I could control, and not dwelling on what I could not control. And then there were those other times, with the little things, where I did the self-pity thing, or where I panicked, or overreacted, and expended a lot of energy only ending up in the same place, with the same problem, after I used all of that energy. Maybe I needed to just “nod my head” and “Breathe In, Breathe Out, Move On.”

Often times I told my athletes not to concern themselves with the other team or fans, with the umpires, with the cold or wet conditions, with the field conditions, because in most of those situations, it was the same for both teams. I told them that once something happened in a game, good, or not so good, they had to look ahead to the next opportunity which may come their way in the game. I told them they could learn from, or build on, what had already happened, but they couldn’t change it, so exerting energy, when it would turn out to be wasted energy, on something that couldn’t be changed, was definitely an exercise in futility. In effect, I was saying to them to acknowledge that it happened (“nod their head”), take a deep breath (“Breathe In, Breathe Out”), and be ready for what might happen next (“Move On.”) I could pass along that advice in my classroom and on the fields, but had trouble learning it myself. I guess I need to practice more of what I preach.

It is said that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. I am definitely an old dog, but I like to think I can still learn new things, and I hope I can continue to do and practice things that will help me continue to travel the roads I choose. I also hope I can muster the patience to take on the things that do happen, and that I can make the changes necessary to handle those things that happen, and pick up any pieces that need be picked up, and get past some of those “small stuff” things that may be unpleasant, or inconvenient, for me, and focus my sights on what lies ahead. In other words, I hope I can “nod my head, Breathe In, Breathe Out, Move On.”

So that’s my wish and hope for the coming year, that we all make the lyrics of Jimmy Buffett’s song a part of our daily routine, that when life brings us things that appear to be tougher than they really are, that we just “nod our heads, Breathe In, Breathe Out, Move On.” Despite what road bumps have happened in all of our pasts, it is time to take that big deep breath and look forward, not back.

May we all have a happy, healthy and safe 2015. May all experience more happiness than sorrow, and more joy than sadness. May the Good Lord protect and bless every one of us, and shield those in the military, those in law enforcement, those in fire protection, and those who respond to medical emergencies, with an extra blanket of protection. May we all become more tolerant, more forgiving and kinder to each other. May our leaders rule with good judgment and unbiasedness, and may we all experience a happy New Year! As I try and tell my children so many times in person, on the phone, in texts, in emails, and on Facebook, be safe, be smart, and be happy!