Apologies for rambling – I wrote this in the airport with like 10 minutes to spare before a flight lol. (double shot espresso)
What do you do when you fail? What is there to fall back on? I think these are questions that i never really prepared myself for when I got drafted. I came from a small town high school where much of what I experienced was just success. I don’t say that to be cocky by any means. I actually say that to give you a background of where I came from when I entered pro ball.
Fast forward to 2011 when i’m getting my tits lit in a league that i’m repeating. We can call this “failure” lol. I don’t think I had ever experienced a season in which I had an ERA above 2 and now i’m sitting here with an ERA triple that! So what do I do? Well at the time I had no idea. I wasn’t used to the harsh reality of performing poorly. I didn’t know how to respond. I didn’t know how to dig myself out of the quicksand. I never had experience with it. Was I good enough? Was I a bust? All questions that quickly arise in a typical high round draft pick that was experiencing failure.
I can’t point to one thing that particular season and say “that’s where it all changed.” I didn’t really have one of those moments. Sure, I mixed in some “quality” starts but never anything I was too excited about. When I look back at that year I am super pleased at how things turned out. Why? Well lets dive into the positives of failure.
I’m sure you’ve heard every motivational quote from someone a lot more famous than I am and that’s great. But no motivational quote will get you out of your struggles. To me, my struggles on the field showed me who I am. It showed me that I really do have a passion for this game which fueled my burning desire to show up everyday with a determination to get better. That’s the most important thing that I found out about myself. Because failure will definitely show you how much you have to love what you are doing if you continue to fail at it.
Another thing was it showed me that you can always learn. I was a high pick in the draft. I thought I had a lot of things figured out at that point. Granted I was 19 but I had a dad in the big leagues and thought of myself as pretty advanced. Well, you’re never above this game.. or anything for that matter. There’s always something that you can be learning from failure or even success.. you just have to be mindful of it. Pick out certain situations in the game or in your life that you’re struggling at and find a way to attack those areas.
Lastly, that year showed me that baseball cannot define me as a human being. Growing up I always thought that having baseball my life was a good thing. Well, it was at the time because I was always over achieving so therefore my attitude was always great! But I quickly learned that if I let the game define me when I was failing then who the heck was I as a human being? Pretty dang lousy. And I didn’t want that.
So in summary I’ve learned that obviously failure can be a good thing. We can always take something from that. We can allow it to be our motivator for future grueling workouts. I believe that something very very important and I really want to get across is being super mindful of the “why”. I’ll be the first one to say that when I used to fail I would try my hardest to just forget it. Hanging with a girlfriend or the boys quickly trying to find anything in my power just to forget it happened. But I think with maturity you start understanding how to put your pride aside and look at your failure as a means to learn. “Why did I give up a 4 spot in the 5th” break that down.. pitch by pitch.. location by location. “Why didn’t my body feel good in that inning” “Why did I get so tired quick” “Why didn’t I recover well from last outing” These are all questions that you can ask yourself after you experience failure without consuming your mind with self doubt. Again, you have to look at it from a learning experience.
I know this was a lot of rambling at times but I just wanted to be completely transparent with you. You will fail in this game. It’s going to happen eventually. How you respond to that failure is what will make you better than the rest.
Love the game. Respect the game. Have fun. Learn.
The Robby Row Show