How do we want to play the game?

I recently had the opportunity to attend the World Baseball Classic in Tokyo – part of the international baseball tournament in which teams are made up of players who all have ties to a particular country. While some players grew up and continue to live in the country of the team they play for (like the teams from the USA or Japan), some of the players on the Netherlands team grew up in the Dutch islands of Curacao, Aruba and Bonaire. Still other players simply have ancestors from the country of the team they play for (such as when Mike Piazza played for team Italy). It makes for some great competition and a lot of national pride.

In its first game, Chinese Tai-pei led Japan for the entire game – until the end, when they lost 4-3. The game was exciting throughout, and the fans cheered constantly. The game was close, so the spirit that the teams demonstrated wasn’t surprising. In its second game, Chinese Tai-pei was beaten by the Cubans, 14-0. In spite of the shutout, the Chinese Tai-pei team and fans never gave up. They played and cheered hard through each play, all the way to the end, as if each play was the bottom of the ninth and they were only behind by one run. They certainly made their country proud and set a great example for all the other players in the tournament.

And for all of us, as we go about the moments of our lives.

It made me think about all the times when I give up on things I’m passionate about, just because they don’t seem to be going the way I wanted or expected them to go. Or the times I’ll go, grudgingly, to a social event, already having decided that I don’t want to be there and probably won’t enjoy myself. What would it be like, instead, to live each moment with the passion that the Chinese Tai-pei team showed, even while knowing that they were losing the game?

During a conversation this morning with a wonderful coach friend, we agreed that with each activity or interaction in our lives, we DECIDE how we want to play the game. Will we sit on the sidelines and wish we were somewhere else? Or will we jump into the activity and find the fun/connection/learning that is waiting for us? Recently, a client shared a story about her recent vacation that illustrated this beautifully. As she sat, watching her daughter play in the ocean waves and regretting that the vacation hadn’t included as many fun activities as she had hoped, she realized that fun was right in front of her. All she had to do was decide to join in. She ran into the water and before she knew it she was jumping and laughing with her daughter. She just had to decide to make that moment what she wanted it to be.

We each have the opportunity and power to make our lives more fun, meaningful, alive. We just need to keep making the decision, moment by moment, to have the life that we want.

About Helane Fronek

Over the past 28 years I have had a fascinating and fulfilling career in medicine, initially practicing as a general internist and then as a procedural specialist, caring for patients with vein disorders. As Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at UC- San Diego School of Medicine, I’m thrilled to be teaching medical students crucial communication skills along with many other aspects involved in the practice of medicine.
This entry was posted in mindfulness, physician coach, physician coaching, physician fulfillment and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to How do we want to play the game?

  1. dreamheidi says:

    Hey Helane, Loved reading your column!! You rock!! Heidi

    Sent from my iPhone

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