Ted Williams, is regarded by many as one of the greatest hitters in baseball. He had a lifetime average of .344 – astounding – and was the last player to average over .400 (.406 in 1941) for an entire season.
He was rumored to have eyesight so keen, that he could literally see the seams on the ball as it left the pitcher’s hand. However, that aspect of his legend turned out to be just that, a rumor.
But imagine that;
Seein’ the seams.
Even with that set of peepers and Ted Williamsesque strength, it would still take a great deal of focus to accomplish that feat for a season, let alone an entire career.
Absolutely nothing could be left to chance at each at-bat. You would need to exercise great care in finding your position in the batter’s box. The placement of your feet. Finding the perfect balance in your stance.
It’s not like you could just walk up there and act like things were just going to happen simply because you wanted them to.
Then there are all the mechanics involved in making for a sweet swing.
Not just a chop, hack or swat. The kind of swing that could put any pitch almost anywhere in – or out – of the park. It had to be a motion that was efficient, fluid and powerful – yet ultimately – controlled.
Regardless of all the hours you spend in a batting cage, you still have to focus your physical gifts and what you want to accomplish on the task at hand, at that moment.
Add to this, making a decision.
A choice in a split second.
With a ball coming off the pitcher’s hand at high velocity, you need to know right away “that pitch is for me” while keeping everything else together.
If your feet get “happy”, the ball may stray. If the bat rises or falls a degree or two, a line drive turns into a pop up. If your eyes spy the left fielder fidgeting and your ears suddenly hear the peanut vendor, “your pitch” can easily become “your whiff”.
So maybe Ted Williams could see the seams.
But more so in a figurative, not in a literal sense.
Perhaps he had the ability to concentrate his abilities so precisely on that moment – each pitch within each at bat – that the entire game slowed down.
It could be that he was so intent on making the most of his opportunity, that time slowed a bit, and things just came to him.
It might have been that he never saw anyone out there other than the pitcher once it was time to go. It might not be a stretch to imagine that he even blocked out the noise from a sell out crowd once he stepped to the plate.
So once he became fully engaged in that moment, the moment actually came to him. Nothing else mattered in that brief span of time.
He could “see” the seams.
So let me ask you this.
How many at-bats at life do you think you get each day?
Practicing your cello, or playing your trumpet over the summer.
The community service projects for Boy Scouts, your church or other clubs and organizations.
The chores that mom and dad need you to do so the family can operate smoothly.
What about the at-bat when you need to help a stranger or stand up for a friend?
How about the bases loaded at bat when you have to say “no” to peer pressure?
Or tell your best buddy that they are making a really poor choice?
And once school starts this fall, will you be ready for the surprise math quiz?
Manage your time so you can turn in the project on time?
Raise your hand to participate and contribute to class room discussions?
If these constitute your all of your life’s plate appearances, what is your current average?
Are you barely getting by, batting .100?
Or closing in on Ted’s numbers?
Do you make the most of life’s at-bats every, single, day ?
Maximizing those opportunities to be your absolute best?
To use your talents and gifts to their fullest?
Becoming so fully engaged in these moments that time will close in around you?
You can focus your energies on that precise moment, where nothing else matters.
You can stroke the ball, make every pitch your own and raise your average.
Just like Mr. Williams at each one of your at-bats.
You can see the seams.