Well, we finally broke the losing streak. Thank God. Now I’m trying to break my losing streak with potential employers. And oh yeah, this outfielder is about to make the transition back to the most demanding position on the field.
In team sports, it does not just take one person to win a game. It takes the entire club, working in unity to get the job done. When a team is in the middle of a losing streak, as we were, it seems almost impossible for every individual to do their part for the good of the whole. It’s hard to get every player to do his part to contribute to winning, because it’s easy to forget how to win. It’s hard to remember the little things that lead to success, especially when it’s been over a month since those little things came about. It’s easy to slip into personal bad habits, which in turn rub off on the team.
Losing is contagious. It’s effortless. It instills complacency. If one member of a household catches a cold, it’s never surprising when the rest of the family comes down with it, unless they are proactive in making sure that doesn’t happen. In team sports, once one individual exhibits losing qualities, it’s never a surprise when the whole team falls victim. The best teams, however, have leadership that is the Airborne that prevents the cold. Good team leaders notice losing qualities in teammates, and make sure to correct them before it spreads. Unfortunately for us, we haven’t had the leadership, or the willing followers, to commit to stopping the losing streak.
Until last Sunday…
For the first time in almost a month, I finally remember what it feels like to win. And boy, it sure beats the hell out of losing. This past weekend, after losing on Friday in embarrassing fashion, we pulled out a close 9-8 win over the third place (and club rival) Redlands Rays. No, the planets were not aligned. Kangaroos weren’t flying. The Outback didn’t freeze over. We just simply showed some guts for the first time all year. We went down 3-0 early, an omen that typically would have led to another blowout loss. However, this time we evened the game at 3-3 by the second inning with scrappy offense. Again, we fell down 6-3, but evened the score at 6-6 by the sixth inning. One last time, we fell down 8-6, but eventually took the lead in the bottom of the eighth, and held on to win 9-8. Three deficits, three comebacks, one win. Breaking a habit is never easy. Hallelujah.
As I mentioned before, our club hasn’t had the leadership to prevent losing streaks. Most of that comes from the fact that we don’t have a coach. When things go awry, players turn to the more experienced coach for guidance and discipline. Unfortunately, we don’t have that luxury. I blame the club for not having a seasoned coach in place, but I also blame myself for not stepping up sooner. I may only be 22, but I have too much experience in this game to sit idly by and watch a sinking ship. Truth be told, I was new here, and I didn’t want to ruffle any feathers. Nobody likes the new guy coming in and stepping on toes. However, it’s been six weeks and ten games. We have 34 more games to play, which is plenty of time to turn this ship around.
The problem is, playing center field, it is hard for me lead. It’s almost like playing wide receiver in football. I don’t think too much, I just go out and let my athleticism take over, and try to make plays. I’m good at that and it comes naturally to me. I love taking hits away from batters who think they have a double off of the bat. That’s my job. But this team needs me somewhere else. This team needs me in a place where I can set the example, and keep everybody in the correct place. That place is at shortstop, the quarterback of the field.
Due to injuries, and a glaring need at the position, I will be taking over at shortstop fulltime from here on out. As with a quarterback in football, it’s the shortstop’s job to not only make all the plays, but to direct traffic. Now, I am not the greatest shortstop around. I played shortstop for Coach Bob Downey at EGHS in 2007. I played there for a year and half in college at St. Mary’s College and Ithaca. I am familiar with the position, but it’s been a while. If I had been a spectacular, gifted shortstop, I would have stayed there. There’s a reason why my coaches in college moved me to the outfield. It’s clear to me that I was born to play centerfield. However, my Dad played shortstop in college and was damn good at it, and he has passed his mind for the game on to me. I am a good enough athlete where I can make up for lack of natural comfort with my baseball instincts and physical tools. In addition, with my loud mouth and propensity for never shutting it, I know a thing or two about directing traffic. I played point guard in high school, essentially coaching our team from on the court. I enjoyed making all of the decisions and accepting responsibility for others. With my personality, I am comfortable in that sort of role (well, as long as I know what I am talking about, and in basketball and baseball, I certainly do). This time around, my goal isn’t to be perfect, but to make sure I do everything I can to win. Either way, it’ll be an adventure that I’m sure you will hear about.
On a different note, I have been here for six weeks, and I am still looking for work. I was supposed to have a job provided for me upon my arrival, but that has fallen by the wayside. It’s ok, I have come to a point in my life where the only person I can truly rely on to get things done is myself. I believe you have to have that attitude. When the time comes and I have people working under me, I can learn to delegate responsibility. I won’t have a problem doing so. But for now, when it comes to my life, the buck stops here. I have to hold myself accountable.
Having said that, I have been visiting shopping centers (they are all over the place, and most are pretty nice) around the area, searching for stores seeking Christmas Casuals. I am still waiting to hear back from most, but last night I had a group interview with Lululemon Athletica, a men’s and women’s yoga apparel store founded in Vancouver. Look it up, it seems awesome. I know what you are thinking. Group interview? Yoga store? It’s not as farfetched as it sounds. First of all, I was drawn to the store because of its laid back atmosphere, comfortable clothing, and the fact that it has mostly girls working there. I’m single and 22. Give me a break. But the fact is it really seems like a friendly place and calming atmosphere, which is good for a person who likes to make friends and stay as a relaxed as possible.
As for the group interview, it’s a process that many corporations in Australia use to find employees. They take resumes, and invite a group of 10 to 15 people into the store for an informal chitchat. It’s a good way for companies to put faces to names, and get a quick glance at personalities. If they like you, they will call you back for a one-on-one interview. There were about 12 of us yesterday, 2 boys and 10 girls (love that ratio J) mostly between the ages of 18 and 30. We sat on yoga mats and floor-pillows, wearing comfortable clothing per their request. They asked each of us to bring an item of clothing that we like to sweat in, and we presented in perfect second grade show-and-tell fashion. I brought my running shoes, baseball cap, and basketball jersey. Then they asked questions about co-worker conflicts, our innovative lifestyles, and best quality. Typical job interview stuff. Not everybody gets a chance to answer due to time constraints, but I made sure I did for each question. Can’t win if you don’t play the game! I could go on for another page with my answers to those questions, but for now I’ll spare you the time. Point is, it went well, and I am hoping to hear from them within the next week. It really would be a fun place for me to work for the next four months. Fingers crossed.
Hopefully I will be writing next week with a job interview in the works, and two more wins under our belt. If not, I’ll just keep plugging away until I get my break. Until next time, it’s g’day mate from down undah…