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  • Learning From My New Friends

    I walked outside to grab the mail and a little girl came whizzing by on a bike. She stopped when she saw me. I knelt down and introduced myself, "I'm AJ," I shook her hand. "Hi, I'm Olivia," she responded. She told me she was 6 years old, later I met her twin 4 year old siblings, Alexis and Ray. They were all so full of life.

    I saw them the next day, and the next. Pretty soon they were ringing the doorbell everyday to ask if I could come out and play. Now, each day at 4:30, we hang out. We walk and talk. I hear about school projects, about home experiments, about weekend plans. Sometimes the light can shine through when you least expect it.

    Spring training is approaching fast. It's a month full of questions. Where will I be this season? Will I be around at all? The stress starts to mount as the chaos of 150 guys in one clubhouse is about to commence. I get sucked up in it all, worrying about what coach thinks what and what player ends up where. But every day at 4:30 my friends are waiting for me and they don't care about those things.

    They remind me of myself when I was younger. The days when I would just go play, without attaching a stigma to the playing or stressing about where the next game would occur. I would live for the day and play until it was time to go in, then I would wait for the next time. Culture has a way of skewing what playing is really all about.

    I play a game for a living, it's the same game I played when I was 5, 15 and it's the same one I play now at 25. Somewhere along the way I started to stress about things that weren't connected with the playing. Things outside of my control. This is what makes me most thankful for my new friends-they play as I should. Why can't I be the same? They play to enjoy it and when it's over, they wait for the next chance. How simple.

    So I will continue to play with my friends-go on walks, ride bikes and scooters, because I know that's what I need. They will keep me playing in the present and they will stop me from worrying about the future. I have a lot to learn from Olivia, Alexis and Ray-they are who I was, and who I ought to be.

    Follow me on Twitter this Spring Training! @apettersen1
    This article was originally published in blog: Learning From My New Friends started by AJPettersen
    Comments 18 Comments
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Good luck AJ! Enjoy the game. I am rooting for you.
    1. big dog's Avatar
      big dog -
      This is what it's all about, and thank you so much for reminding us. Have a fun spring!
    1. clutterheart's Avatar
      clutterheart -
      Don't fall off the scooter and injure yourself!

      Good luck this year
    1. Don't Feed the Greed Guy's Avatar
      Don't Feed the Greed Guy -
      Have a great spring, AJ. In our home, Babe Ruth baseball sign up registration forms arrived last week, for two boys who got a chance to see you "play" last summer. Thanks for making time for them, Olivia, Alexis, and Ray.
    1. rukavina's Avatar
      rukavina -
      Nice note. My guess is that you will do well with a lot of things outside of the game.
    1. LimestoneBaggy's Avatar
      LimestoneBaggy -
      Good luck AJ! Thanks for the glimpse into your thoughts.....if you have children, the little ones spend the better part of your life reminding you how to live.
    1. Sconnie's Avatar
      Sconnie -
      Thanks AJ. Good luck
    1. DAM DC Twins Fans's Avatar
      DAM DC Twins Fans -
      Thanks for great article AJ. Good luck in spring training and the 2014 season.
    1. AJPettersen's Avatar
      AJPettersen -
      Quote Originally Posted by Thrylos View Post
      Good luck AJ! Enjoy the game. I am rooting for you.
      Thank you, I appreciate that!
    1. AJPettersen's Avatar
      AJPettersen -
      Quote Originally Posted by clutterheart View Post
      Don't fall off the scooter and injure yourself!

      Good luck this year
      Haha, I am usually walking.
    1. AJPettersen's Avatar
      AJPettersen -
      Quote Originally Posted by Don't Feed the Greed Guy View Post
      Have a great spring, AJ. In our home, Babe Ruth baseball sign up registration forms arrived last week, for two boys who got a chance to see you "play" last summer. Thanks for making time for them, Olivia, Alexis, and Ray.
      I played Babe Ruth growing up! Where did you see me play last year? Best of luck to your boys and I appreciate the kind words!
    1. AJPettersen's Avatar
      AJPettersen -
      Quote Originally Posted by rukavina View Post
      Nice note. My guess is that you will do well with a lot of things outside of the game.
      Thank you very much and thanks for reading.
    1. Jdosen's Avatar
      Jdosen -
      Well done. I was excited to read you again this year. Best of luck going forward, I'm pulling for you.
    1. Madre Dos's Avatar
      Madre Dos -
      See you Saturday AJ!
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Hey... I'll see you Saturday too, AJ!!
    1. Twins Daily Admin's Avatar
      Twins Daily Admin -
      Two reactions:

      First, I had a long talk with Trevor May about paying attention to the process instead of the results. It seems to me that "play" and "having" help with that. It's easier to get lost in the moment and to let the tough bounces and hops go when you're in the moment. And it's easier to be in the moment when you'er having fun.

      I was also struck by the paragraph about stressing about the things outside of playing and outside of your control. This is not unique to baseball. I know a LOT of people who hate their job but like what they do. They like the task they'e paid to do - say, write - but all the other stuff around it makes them hate their job. They don't trust their boss, or their coworkers, or they think the company isn't doing a good job, or that they won't get a promotion, or they worry that someone is whispering behind their backs, or that they'll be doing this the rest of their lives.

      It seems to me you'e talking about being present. Kids are a wonderful reminder of what that's like. They're almost always in the present. They have to be. They are so unable to control their destiny, they have no choice but to accept the future for what comes and react to what is in front of them instead.
    1. Don't Feed the Greed Guy's Avatar
      Don't Feed the Greed Guy -
      Quote Originally Posted by Don't Feed the Greed Guy View Post
      Have a great spring, AJ. In our home, Babe Ruth baseball sign up registration forms arrived last week, for two boys who got a chance to see you "play" last summer. Thanks for making time for them, Olivia, Alexis, and Ray.
      It was July 11th, last year. Pat Dean and Dakota Watts combined for the shutout. Jeff Smith gave you the night off, but that didn't keep you from battling the mosquitoes while signing a baseball for my boys outside the clubhouse after the game.
    1. glunn's Avatar
      glunn -
      Great post, AJ. Having fun promotes peak performance. Just don't let them talk you into exploring any caves.
      <br>
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