Jack Welch

JACK WELCH From the Bleachers

Coaches are criticized for running the ball or throwing the ball too much. Criticism comes from every angle especially during times of adversity. How should we handle the stones that critics hurl with harsh intent?

How do we view an opportunity? Is it coincidence something happens to us? Is adversity a challenge or an opportunity? It is essential coaches and players see challenges not as challenges but as opportunities.

Over the years, I have had the opportunity to visit with some great baseball players and coaches. One of the reoccurring themes I hear is baseball is a game of failure. A great hitter will fail to get a hit three out of four at bats. A Hall of Fame pitcher gives up hits and home runs, while the greatest of fielders average a certain number of errors.

It is true, baseball is a game where people often fail. But can’t we say that about all sports? Quarterbacks averaging 70 percent completion are considered great.

I do not consider baseball a game of failure, but I believe it is a game of opportunity. Regardless of what happened on the last play, the last pitch, or the last at bat, players have an opportunity to make a great play.

Did you know home run champion Babe Ruth led the major league in strikeouts five times? During Ruth’s era, to strike out was disgraceful, yet he is considered one of the greatest home run hitters of all time.

Hall of fame pitcher Nolan Ryan is the all-time leader in striking out 5,714 batters. You might think he won an exorbitant number of games, and he did. He is credited with winning 324 games. Ironically, he also is credited with losing 292. Consequently, he only won 32 more games than he lost in a 27-year career.

Whether playing baseball or football, games will be filled with failure and opportunity. It is the same way in life. Anyone pursuing something worthwhile will fail often. Over my 40-year coaching career, I have been associated with winning and losing. As I reflect on those years and teams, we weren’t failing at the most difficult times, we were growing. We were becoming better in our craft. I have learned through all experiences we can dwell on the past or look forward to the next great opportunity.

Thought for the week, “The stones that critics hurl with harsh intent, a man may use to build a monument.” Arthur Guiterman

Jack Welch grew up in Osawatomie. He holds a Doctor of Education degree and has been a college and high school football coach for 39 years. He can be reached at jackwelch1975@gmail.com.

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