My brother, Rick, is a college baseball coach. He coaches the Manchester University Spartans, a D3 school from northeast Indiana. My brother is very cool. His team had a phenomenal season this year, going 39-7-1. They reached the D3 College World Series in Appleton, WI, over Memorial Day weekend. While that trip did not end up the way we hoped, his team was very cool throughout it all.
There is a lesson in this for me. It’s good to be reminded to focus on the next play and not worry about the last one during any game, be it on the field, in the office or at home. Sure, we must evaluate the game afterward to learn from what went right and what didn’t – to improve for the next time. Also, it’s important to be working on skills and situations in practice to make sure you are ready when it’s game time and the lights are on. But while I’m in the game, I need to stay forward-focused and cool... like the Spartans.This team’s senior class set a tone for themselves and the entire program. Their demeanor is the same whether they’re ahead or behind on the scoreboard. It is the same whether they’re ahead or behind in the count. It is the same whether they make an error or complete a spectacular play. They look unflappable. They are cool. Rick attributes much of the success of this team to the tone set by the seniors to stay focused on the next play and not worry about the last one.
Rick has had many good teams in his career. I have watched many of them for a few games each year, only getting to know their personality a bit. This team – and the tone set by the seniors – seems to be a very good match for his personality. Cool. Contemplate after the game. Ever forward in the game.
It was a great season. An unforgettable one.
Coach Rick Espeset (center), keeping it loose in the dugout