On February 1st, if you ask the average person to name their favorite February holiday, odds are you’ll get plenty of votes for Valentine’s Day or the long President’s Day weekend. Ask a true blue, red- blooded baseball fan that same question and expect an emphatic, “No brainier—it’s the day the pitchers report!”
Ah, spring training.
If you are not a baseball fan, you may not know that spring training is an annual ritual when major league baseball players dig out the gloves and spikes they packed away last fall and migrate from their hometowns to the warm climates of Florida and Arizona to practice for the upcoming baseball season.
It doesn’t matter that many of these guys are baseball’s seasoned superstars, guys like Jimmy Rollins, Derek Jeter, Roy Halliday—guys who make mega-millions, have won gold gloves, shattered hitting records, or pitched perfect games.
Why do they show up for practice year after year? I suspect they’ve learned a secret about the game of baseball that applies to the writing life-and life in general, too.
There was a time when I believed being a good writer meant the ability to sit down with pen and paper, or keyboard, and produce a great work on the first attempt. Boy, was I naïve. Years of honing the craft of writing have taught me that writing is less about penning the perfect first draft and more about rewriting, editing, rewriting again, and editing some more.
Good writing is all about practice and do-overs. In writing and in life--just like in spring training—you have to keep showing up and practicing to stay on top of your game.
The pitchers report this year on February 12th and by early March the infielders and outfielders will show up for practice, too.
Like those baseball players and me, are there things you’ve spent a lifetime mastering only to learn, you have to keep showing up and practicing, too?