Why The Blue Jays Win & Citizens Don't Vote
by Corri Lobbezoo
Here in Canada, the Toronto Blue Jays (our only national major league baseball team) are into the playoffs and on a rip we can all be proud of. (Although we have been subjected to FOX Sports coverage, which spouts occasional idiocy and incessant dull rambling about the game, the teams, Canada in general and other unrelated subjects. As Anne Murray tweeted, “my kingdom for Buck Martinez & Pat Tabler!”)
Toronto fans know how to wait. (Cue the deep sighs of Leaf fans.) So we’re finally celebrating in the streets. Safely, of course.
And the Jays are a very lovable team. Their attitudes veer away from standard sports-ball-cocky towards infectiously goofy, remarkably honest, quirky, focused, and calm.
Manager John Gibbons slouches against the fence, chews, or drinks from a big cup throughout the game. If you didn’t know better, you’d think he wasn't even paying attention.
Jays’ pitchers? How about 20-year-old Roberto Osuna, or 40-year-old R.A. Dickey? Both steady, focused, respectful.
(Sidetone: R.A. Dickey is a hero of mine, even more for his choice of vulnerably sharing the story of his childhood sexual abuse and "search for truth, authenticity and the perfect knuckleball" than his remarkable pitching skills or heartwarming team spirit. If you haven’t read “Wherever I Wind Up” or “Throwing Strikes,” now’s a great time. It’s hard enough to tell your abuse story. It’s another thing to share it with the world on the eve of making it big in professional sports, with millions of eyes on you as you practice your craft; there is nowhere to hide. Thank you, R.A.)
I could go on. The gravity-defying, golden-gloved Kevin Pillar. Scooter-riding, constantly-stretching ‘Joey-Bats’ José Bautista. (No, FOX, that doesn’t indicate an injury; do your homework.) Relentless Ryan Goins, who says "You're not going to make those plays if you don't practice" them.
In other Canadian news, on Monday we’ll elect our next government. It’s federal election time! And everybody’s talking about the need to vote.
Why don’t people vote? And why are the Jays winning?
I think it’s for the same reason any of us quits or perseveres, whether entrepreneur, artist, parent, student, engineer, anybody. It comes down to this question:
do I believe that what I choose to do in this moment -- however small -- counts toward something bigger?
The Jays worked hard. All through the season. Things weren't looking favourable back in June. After a loss, manager John Gibbons said the guys kept battling and didn't pack it in. They just worked hard. Kept doing their best, moment by moment. They earned their spot in the playoffs.
And even in the early innings of Game 5 with the Texas Rangers, their chances didn't look good to me. But nobody crumbled. And when they're on a streak in other games, they don't get cocky. Those Jays keep focusing on what they can do, which is this next moment.
Potential voters think I’m just one person, just one. We’re not stupid. We know what’s up. Thousands of votes are needed to elect a party.
That's true. But here's what I think:
we need to grow a satisfaction in being one link in a very long chain.
Hero moments are rare. Opportunities to be or fulfill a link in a chain? They're constant.
If you’ve been reading my blog, you know I’ve been riffing on the virtues of persistence. As an entrepreneur, as a human who wants to grow, as a writer. And the lesson that keeps popping up is this: do one small thing, do another small thing. Be faithful; be content with small progress.
I need to trust this in anything at all I want to accomplish or achieve. I need to believe that one small act followed by another is the only way forward. That it’s enough.
I used to resist this truth because it felt boxy, small, limiting, and dull, and I’m a wildly creative human. Yet, in my battle for daily creativity, I fought skirmish after skirmish until surrendering to its truth.
Yes, there is a time for dreaming, visioning, planning. But carrying out the plan can only be accomplished step by step, link by link, moment by moment.
While post-game sports interviews can be notoriously obvious, I'll quote Munenori Kawasaki, talking strategy in this video below after the gripping Game 5 win:
"We are never scared. We still have important game to come. We wanna stay to focus! Don't thinking, just swing! Just throw! Just catch! Don't think, everybody! Just WIN!"
Carrying the past and the future overwhelms us. And what do we do when we’re overwhelmed? Nothing; we do nothing. We go numb. Because it's too much.
You know what's not too much? One thing.
One vote cast.
One more at-bat.
One more page written. One more task crossed off the list. Links in a chain, baby, links in a chain.
Hey, Canadian citizen, Blue Jay, fellow entrepreneur or artist: "stay to focus! Just swing!"
And on Monday, follow Marcus Stroman's instructions: get up, go vote, then start getting ready for the game. If I'm gonna do that over on the west coast, I expect half of Canada'll be doing the same.