Mark Schneider

Inspiring Since 1985

The Ball Game of Life

My father played some ball with me

One eve in early May

Just us two, by our old tree

On a cool refreshing day

"Son," Dad said, now listen close,

As he began to throw

There are some things, that by your age

I feel that you should know."

I know some day you'll wander.

I KNOW you have ambitions

And so please remember this

To help with all your missions

"Life" is like a baseball game" he said,

after a short while

"Every day's a new at bat.

Embrace it with a smile.

Understand you'll start off slow.

And I know that you'll excel.

But be careful not to rush

Or you might not play too well.

You'll start off in the minors

Where the fish are pretty small

Some won't make it very far.

Some don't really care at all.

But you must remember,

to keep your head right on the ball

And that will be the moment

That you smack it o'er the wall!

Eye contact is key,

Don't let that ball out of your sight.

See it when it leaves the glove.

Dream of it at night.

And do understand

That even a great hit

Can still find its path

Into some fielder's mitt.

Since players in the outfield,

Are standing in your way

And you must be aware of them,

On each and every day

So look down the foul lines,

And hear your friends all clap,

And try to dodge the players

And drive the ball into a gap.

Then you can round the bases,

But again, don't be absurd.

You're better safe at second,

Than if you were out at third.

Of course, there will be some days

When you're off in distant lands

Where there are no familiar faces

Watching you from in the stands

Those days can be lonely.

When the crowd does NOT like you.

Some may say some awful things.

And some of them may Boo.

And that's no fault of yours,

Or for anything done wrong.

It's simply since you're different

They might feel you don't belong.

But always do remember,

However far you roam,

That if you get lost at all,

You can always come back home.

And there will surely be some rainy days.

When no ball is even played.

And there may be some players,

Who make you quite afraid.

But remember when it's your turn

To step up to the plate,

That as long as you're ready

It will never be too late.

And should you swing and miss

Or should you even strike out

Don't stand and make a scene.

Don't cry, or pout or shout.

Don't blame it on the umpire.

Don't let it shake your mind.

Just look ahead to next time.

And leave the bad at bat behind.

For there will be a lot of Next Time's

So it's important to stay cool

Don't ever quit, or forfeit,

And always stay in school.

And when you do strikeout

(we all do then and now)

Don't ask merely why,

But also wonder "how?"

Do you swing and miss,

And go down after you try?

Or do you just ignore the ball

And let it pass you by?

If you think the ball's in reach,

Then you'd better take a crack.

Because, once a good ball is gone,

There's no taking it back.

But even if you stand there,

And if you do miss something great,

Remember EVEN THEN,

That still it's not too late.

You just need a few good pitches.

Though some of them may swerve.

Always smash the fastballs,

But watch out for the curve.

And if you are patient

And take control of your at bat

Then soon, you'll find

You can direct where the ball is at

Then you may become acclaimed

For your skill and inspiration

Though you must not forget all

Your work and dedication

And soon you may just be the BEST

Among the players at those stages

You may pitch the fastest

And hit the best in batting cages.

But one day you'll be promoted

To a sea of bigger sharks

They throw and hit much harder

And they play in bigger parks.

And suddenly, everyone

In the game can play like you

And you get so worried

That you DON'T know what to do.

You may end a streak of hitting, from before your promotion.

You may forget how to play.

You may feel too small for this ocean.

And you may go into a slump, which can last for days and weeks and years.

You may be too afraid to face up to all your fears

You may, just for a moment, forget everything you learned at all.

And you might begin to turn your head off from the ball

But you must step back, in spite of such frightful weather.

You've got to shake it off and pull yourself together.

You just need to bring your game, to this greater competition.

And you'll realize that this had always been

A big part of your mission.

And if you're still having trouble, then your team-mates can support.

For it's important to remember, that baseball is a TEAM sport.

And you'll have some fellows there, to field the ball and help you win.

Players come and go these days, but there's always someone in.

And other folks you've met before, who just like to keep in touch

Will be in the stands, throughout the years, always cheering very much

And whatever league you play in,

(since no town is too far)

And whatever place you stay in,

Always remember who you are.

Some players, let their winning streaks, seep into their heads.

They dream about their glories, every night within their beds.

They laugh at all the rookies. And they give fans an evil smirk.

But they have long forgotten, the importance of hard work.

And yes, Baseball has its rules, but it can still be fun and new!

And it won't be very long before you've scored a run or two.

There's no reason, of course, why life cannot be fun.

Why you can't enjoy each day. Why you can't get something done.

Because you CAN! And don't forget

If your team does not succeed right now.

Then surely, by next season, you'll find a way some how.

For its important to keep going.

No matter who you play.

And in the end, it's the game itself

That matters most each day.

And I say this," said My dad,

As the sun was going down,

Because I see the sparkle

In your eyes," then he began to frown.

"That sparkle is the spark of love

That you have for this game.

And should you ever let that die,

It would truly be a shame."

Since baseball is a lengthy game

Which spans many seasons.

And people so enjoy it,

For many of these reasons.

But even in the end, sometime late in the fall,

When the playoffs are just ending

And you make your curtain call

And you homer in the ninth

And force the other team to fall,

Remember how it helps

To keep your eyes glued to the ball.

And I hugged my Daddy so,

But I'm not sure I understood.

My Daddy just smiled,

Since he knew some day I would.

He gulped and our eyes met,

And then silence filled the air.

"So Daddy" I asked at last,

"How do I prepare?"

"It's getting late," he said to me.

It was dark, so I agreed.

"Just think about our talk" he said.

It may help you succeed"

"And Remember that on some days

You might get hit pretty hard

But other days YOU'll be the one

To hit the ball out of the yard"

And I nodded firmly with my head

And I hummed a happy song.

And I kept my baseball near my bed

To gaze at all night long.