My college baseball coach had a saying that just unnerved me. You see we were not that great of a baseball program. Each year we would end up south of .500 in the win/loss column.....okay maybe south of .300. We had some talented players but our program did not have the money, facilities and the kind of weather to attract the best players. The other schools we competed against were able to go out and offer some full scholorships to get some top level pitchers and usually a few guys who could really spank the ball. We were basically outmanned talent wise against nearly every opponent we faced.
And since we didn't have the firepower to win consistently at that level our coach had a different kind of mantra. "Just enjoy the process, boys."
To the 18 year old me that seemed like a cop out. Enjoying the process to me meant accepting graciously that we are losers. We cannot accomplish what the goal of the game is, we can't win, so let's change the goal. Instead of winning lets just try and enjoy the process and have fun while we are getting our butt's kicked! My first two seasons in that program were very tough for me because I wanted to win and I didn't want to buy into what I percieved as "a losing mentality." I resisted it at every turn.
My third year in the program I finally started to understand what my coach meant by "Enjoy the process, boys" Honestly by that point I had probably heard him say it 1000 times but it never really sank in what he meant until my junior year. He meant that we needed to love the game enough, enjoy the game enough, to go through the process each day of working, practicing, trying to get better. And if we truly loved that process, truly enjoyed all that that entailed then we would be successful even if the scoreboard didn't show it. To love the game, give ourselves over to the game and put in the kind of effort every day to get better would be our only chance of finding success. And if he could teach us that lesson as young men it would be a concept that would follow us the rest of our lives.
I'm grateful now for the lessons Coach taught me. And I think there are some important truths in what he was teaching. There is not a scoreboard in life though the world would have us believe that there is. How differently would we 'play the game' if we could enjoy every detail of the process instead of being so focused on the result? What are we missing out on because we are not taking the time to be conciously aware that we are supposed to be enjoying the process?
The other day my daughter and I were discussing her upcoming hunting plans this fall. All she kept talking about was getting a big buck. She really hopes she gets some nice antlers for her wall this year. And using my best impersonation of my baseball coach I told her that she needed to "Just enjoy the process, girl".
I think that is some advice we could all remember as late summer and fall adventures are right on the horizon. We are lucky to be able to spend time hunting and fishing in this country. Out west where we live is some of the most beautiful country created! We get to spend time with family and friends out there. We get moments of solitude and stillness. We get fresh air. We get to feel the anticipation of cool brisk morning, the thrill of excitement that gives you goosebumps, gets your knees quivering, or send your heart pounding through your chest. We love this! We get to feel the sense of accomplishment of a job well done and quite often we get to face the agony of defeat. We get to spend time in creation with the Creator. Don't miss it because you are so focused on a result. Look for God, listen for his voice. Proceed with a posture of gratefulness that we get to do this! And, just enjoy the process.