The Mental Part of the Game

Baseball is a game of failure. I’ve been told this many times. Heck, the best single-season batting average recorded in the history of baseball is .440, which means this player didn’t even get a hit half of the time.

Getting a hit three out of ten times is considered very good. Now, this is where the mental part of the game comes in.

I, myself, have been in a terrible slump lately. Over the years, I have learned that I can’t let these things get to me. It took me awhile, I admit that. Let’s just say that there were several episodes of “losing my cool” in the past.

Now I understand that when you let these things get to you, it affects your game negatively. Also, it makes you look bad. You have to approach the game with a positive outlook, regardless of how many times you fail.

I bring up this topic because I am currently in a slump, as I mentioned before. In the spring I felt I was doing much better. But for some reason, I guess I just got out of rhythm this summer.

However, it wouldn’t have made much of a difference. This year a bunch of kids left for club teams, so we knew we lacked some talent out of the gate. Still, I thought we would be competitive. I was wrong. So wrong. We finished 0-12, getting mercied in most of our games.

Sometimes it was because the other team was very good, and sometimes it was just because we were terrible. We were the Bad News Bears, subtracting their playoff run.

But throughout my life, I have learned to just keep plugging away. And fortunately, I got invited to play for a club team for the rest of the summer. I will get more reps, and more at-bats. Baseball is a game of repetition as well, so the more games the better.

You can be insanely talented, but if you can’t handle the mental aspect of baseball, forget about it. The great players today have mastered the mental and physical part of the game, some more than others, and I strive to do the same!

USA on the Trail to Triumph

The USA National Soccer team was put in a group that included three very good teams. Just after the groups were announced for the 2014 World Cup, many people, including myself, lost hope and thought the US had little to no chance of advancing.

Many people lost hope after Landon Donovan was cut from the 23-man roster. Donovan was the face of the US team for years, and has the most goals for the US Men’s Team of all time. Things were not looking ideal for the USA out of the gate.

But actually, things couldn’t have gone better in Group G’s first games. The USA beat Ghana and Portugal lost to Germany 4-0. This is great for many reasons. First, the US has 3 points. Second, Portugal lost their best defender, Pepe, to a red card, so he can’t play against the USA. Thirdly, Portugal’s goal differential is very bad now, so it’ll be hard for them to win a tiebreaker.

Now, this is the point where I really gained confidence that the USA could make a run in this World Cup, and they did extremely well, surprising many people. Look, if you were going to tell me that the USA would advance to the knockout stage, I would have said,”No way.” However, they did.

Jermaine Jones celebrates after scoring the equalizing goal against Portugal

Jermaine Jones celebrates after scoring the equalizing goal against Portugal

This World Cup has been very interesting to watch, especially to see Spain, Italy, Portugal, and England be knocked out in the group stage. The excitement of this international tournament has gotten to me, and all I want to do is play soccer! I have been playing soccer a lot recently, after watching the World Cup.

For some reason, when I watch a sport, I always want to play it. Well, I probably would want to play anyway, but you know what I mean. So, now that the exciting World Cup is on, I have been playing soccer more and more. It’s actually probably good, considering I have to try out for the high school soccer team in the fall. After playing goalie for most of the time in my soccer career so far, I’m electing to play in the field in high school.

I played goalie more because I had to, not really because I wanted to. Also, there are few goalies going to my high school that are very good, so I probably won’t play a lot there anyway. And usually, I don’t really watch soccer at all. I don’t really have any interest in club soccer, so usually I’m only motivated to play baseball, basketball, or football. But the World Cup is like March Madness except international teams, and it’s soccer.

It’s even more exciting when your home country plays well. Many people doubted Jurgen Klinnsman (The USA Coach) and his team, but they surprised many people in this World Cup.

Despite getting knocked out by a talented Belgium team, the future is bright for our country in terms of soccer. We have a very young team, that has lots of potential. In the 2014 World Cup, we saw flashes of greatness from very young players, including John Brooks’ goal against Ghana and Julian Green’s goal against Belgium. The rest of the world should look out for the USA in 2018!