Players have a set of individual talents that make them great. Whether it’s closing gaps in the outfield, a great first step on the base paths, or the ability to turn on a fastball, individuals are just that. Individual. In baseball, not one person can single handedly win a game. One person can end the game, but no one person can win it. You need defense. A pitcher needs players behind him to make plays, even if he’s pitching a no hitter or perfect game. It’s a team that makes the individual, not the other way around.
In my life, I’ve been blessed with a great team. My family has been critical to my personal and professional success. My wife’s support, my kids laughter and needed distractions have been nothing beyond life saving. My parents and sister’s support and encouragement has been enough to push me through the late innings when things get tight. The one part of my team that I’ve been neglecting lately has been my friends.
Our friends are one of the most important aspects of life that easily get overlooked. Whether it’s old high school friends you only see at reunions, college friends who you used to do ridiculously stupid stuff with, or friends you’ve met in your adult life, these relationships tend to get the short end of the stick. While I don’t think the growing amount of time between gatherings is an indication of the importance in your life, the longer time passes the harder it gets to feed them.
I often make the mistake of letting my friendships begin to wither. Whether they’ve done something that I most likely don’t remember to upset me or just life in general keeping us apart, I’ve been guilty of letting my friendships start to wither. I can’t name a single relationship that I’ve constantly fed throughout the years. The same relationship that we had then is most certainly not the relationship that we have now.
I’ve had some great friends along the way. Friends who would do absolutely anything for me. Friends who have. Some of my greatest memories are with them. These relationships were great because of who we were then. To expect the relationship to stay the same, 10-20 years later is probably a bit unfair. When we start to grow, we’d be remiss if we expected our relationships to stay exactly the same.
Just last night, one of my closest friends brought his family over for a Laborious Day of fun. This friendship is one that I could feel was starting to get away, not of any particular reason but just because life has been more difficult the last few months. But having them over was a great reminder that when we feed our relationships, not only is it our friendships that grow but my kids will have memories of this very weekend with their friends. It’s been fun watching our kids grow together and now feed each other.
Our teams should be filled with greatness. Fill a team with people who you can trust to play tough defense behind you. People you want to go to battle with every day. Sooner or later, our contracts will expire so make the most of the team you have today. Leave it all on the field. Because no matter what happens at the end of the game, you’ll be proud to all be in the same dugout.