Fielding opportunities

`I live in the UK, so I’ve never played baseball. Or been to a batting cage. But I understand the basic concept. You pay some money, get given a helmet and a bat, and then try to hit the balls that a machine hurls at you.

Hold that image in your mind. Now, transfer the pitching machine and the batter onto a real baseball field, and imagine that you’re not the batter, but a fielder. Your job is to catch one of the balls the batter hits. Let’s say that a ball gets hit into the field every five seconds, constantly, without end. 

Here’s a question: how long do you think it would take for you to catch a ball if you weren’t allowed to adjust your position? You can’t move forwards or backwards or sideways, and you can’t move your hands up or down or side to side. You have to wait until the batter hits a ball on a path that ends right in your hands. How long will it take?

Answer: a long, long time.

Why does this matter? Why do I mention it? Only because I’m sick of people complaining that the balls aren’t magically falling into their mitt. I’m tired of people saying there’s not enough opportunities for them, that no-one wants to help them out, that it’s too hard, too difficult. That it takes too long. 

These people are like fielders who wait for the ball to come to them, to fall right into their hands. They stand there, unmoving, complaining about their own misfortune, about their own inability to make a catch. It’s ridiculous.

Let’s revisit the scenario above. But this time you’re allowed to move. You can run, jump, shuffle, dive, do whatever it takes to make a catch. How long will it take you to catch a ball now?

Answer: not very long.