I am no longer blogging here at Little Nuances, but I would love for you to join me on my author website www.leewarren.info.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

The freedom to experiment

The way people process the minutia of life fascinates me.

I’m just about finished reading J.R. Moehringer’s memoir The Tender Bar. At this point in the book, he’s a copyboy for the NY Times with the hopes of becoming a full-time reporter for the publication.

Young baseball catcher signaling to pitcher
He is just about to give up hope on his dream when he plays catch with his cousin, McGraw, who is a pitcher on the verge of being selected in the major league draft. What Moehringer learns while playing catch changes him.

“He was a dedicated craftsman, and the rewards he’d gained from hard work went far beyond mastering a slider and a change. He’d mastered himself. He didn’t work hard merely because he was talented, but because he knew that hard work was the right path for a man, the only path. He wasn’t paralyzed, as I was, by the fear of making a mistake. When he bounced a pitch in front of me, or threw it over my head, he didn’t care. He was experimenting, exploring, finding himself, and finding his way by trial and error to a kind of truth. No matter how foolish he looked on a pitch, no matter how badly he missed the target, with the next pitch he was focused, confident, relaxed. He never once that afternoon lost the look on his face that he’d worn when we were boys. He was working hard, but he’d never stopped playing.

“Our catch, nothing more than a tune-up for McGraw, was a turning point for me. In one hour he taught me more than all the editors at the Times had taught me in the last twenty months. When McGraw returned to Nebraska I returned to the newsroom and became the best copyboy I could be.”

Imagine how much more fun life would be if all of us had McGraw’s attitude. Why fear what people think when so many of those people never take risks or have forgotten about the risks they took?


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