Freestyle Friday: A Time to Learn

If you watched game one of the 2013 World Series, you saw one of the most disastrous starts to a baseball game imaginable. You saw untimely errors, questionable base running, and, generally speaking, just a lot of sloppy play by the St. Louis Cardinals.

I’ve been a Red Sox fan since the mid-1980s. We only had three cable channels when I was young – WTBS out of Atlanta, WOR out of New York, and WGN out of Chicago. I watched a lot of Chicago Cubs games because Wrigley didn’t have lights at that time and the Cubs played in the afternoon, on WGN. I had control of the TV for a couple of hours in the afternoon.  Bill Buckner was my favorite player and, as you can visualize now, was later the first baseman for the Red Sox.

So, while I was pulling for the Red Sox this past Wednesday night, I really wanted Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright to do well. I don’t know Mr. Wainwright, I’ve never met him and I had to look-up some of his stats to get the timeline somewhat right for this post, but I like Mr. Wainwright.

A nineteen-game winner in 2009 and a twenty-game winner and runner-up for the NL Cy Young award in 2010, Wainwright reported to spring training  in 2011 with tremendous promise. Early in spring training, however, Wainwright felt discomfort in his right elbow. Three days later, the Cardinals announced that Wainwright would undergo Tommy John surgery and miss the 2011 season.

His 2012 season was mediocre (14-13), but Wainwright was back to old form for the 2013 season, becoming the first pitcher since 1900 to strikeout 28 batters without giving up a walk in his first four starts of the season. I was watching a baseball game this summer, one of the Saturday games on FOX, and I heard Tim McCarver talking about Wainwright. McCarver had asked Wainwright what he did during the missed 2011 season. Wainwright told him, “I watched a lot of baseball. And I realized that, if you don’t walk people, you have a good chance of winning the game.”

I’ve had this blog post in my head (actually, noted in Evernote) since that day.

Here is a man, already one of the best pitchers in the game, a 20-game winner and NL Cy Young Award runner-up, who, when life dealt him a setback, took the opportunity to LEARN. He watched games, not as entertainment, but to learn more about his profession and what he could do to become a better pitcher and to give his team a better chance to win.

Adam Wainwright took the loss in game one Wednesday night, but Adam Wainwright is a tremendous talent and teammate, and he’s going to be okay.

I attended a one-day seminar a few weeks ago and the speaker made a comment that both rang true and scared me.  He said that, between the ages of 35 and 55 – the age range in which I and most of you reading this blog fall – most people stop learning. Either they’re too busy, or think they know it all already, or just don’t know what else they need to learn. Whatever the reason, whether it’s a passive decision or some narcissistic statement we make about ourselves, we stop learning.

Learn something today. It doesn’t have to be the ins and outs of the Affordable Care Act or Common Core, just learn something. Learn how to check the air pressure and how to put air in your tires. Learn how many square feet are in your house. People ask Leah and I all the time and we just look at each other. “It’s bigger than a breadbox” is not a number.  Learn to create a junk mail folder for your email. Learn to make one of those rubber band bracelets that are all the rage with the kids. Just learn something, one thing. Don’t stop learning.

If you learn something cool today, share it with the rest of us in the comments below.

Thanks for stopping by. Have a great weekend. I’ll return to my normal schedule next week.


2 thoughts on “Freestyle Friday: A Time to Learn”

  1. Off topic, but Bozo the Clown was on WGN out of Chicago. That was the first game show I wanted to be on. Double Dare was the second. I learned something new today – how to setup email users on an Office 365 account.

  2. Jammy you should see the Rainbow Loom bracelets I have been cranking out since Trace got one for his birthday. I’m an absolute machine. And a better man for it. Oh how right you are my friend!

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