by Linda Henman, Ph.D.
In recent years, if I were to write the “How I spent my summer vacation” essay, it would mention repeated and profound journeys to watch my grandkids play baseball. Since they are still young, the rules limit the number of runs a team can score in a single inning. Obviously, the coaches and parents want to build a love of the game, level the playing field, accommodate different levels of skills, etc. The coaches also seem mindful of an unwritten good-sportsmanship rule not to run up the score by playing a star pitcher against a less developed team. All this civility makes sense and helps the kids.
The problems arise when people advance past fifth grade and assume Little League rules still apply. They don’t. When opponents criticized Patriots coach Bill Belichick for running up the score, Belichick replied, “If they want us to score less, they should play better and stop us.”
Successful people realize that Belichick’s rules rule. Sometimes Lady Luck plays a role, and certainly innate talent does, but beyond that, those who invest, take prudent risks, and work hard reap the rewards. Other’s don’t.
Having played sports since they could walk, my grandkids already have shelves of trophies, but this year the league kept score and established rankings among the teams. My grandson’s comment when his team placed first in the league? “This is the first trophy I’ve ever really won.” If eight year olds can figure out the difference, why can’t the rest of us?
People do keep score; spelling counts; and not everyone gets a trophy. Some call it capitalism. I call it living your life, but no one else really cares about leveling the playing field for you.
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