When my son Alex was about 6 going on 7, he was crazy about the Yankees. Even when we just played catch, he insisted on wearing his full uniform. One day as we were throwing a ball around in the park, we happened to see a team of kids – the town Yankees, no less! — practicing on a baseball diamond. We stopped to watch and listen for a while, hoping to pick up a few tips. From the first, it was clear that their coach, Ray Healy, had a lot of advice to share. At the end of the practice, Ray asked Alex his name and invited him to hit a few. Alex was thrilled and ended up being the team’s official mascot. He learned a lot that season and so did I, not just about playing ball, but about giving it your all.
Ray Healy wasn’t just a gifted coach, he was a demanding one. He was really passionate about playing ball and wanted the same enthusiasm from his players. He always gave his best – and demanded the best from his team — not just at game time, but during practice as well. They were kids, but Ray didn’t put up with any kidding around. Game or no game, when his team was on the field, Ray expected them to go all out – no silly fumbles or lazy, lackluster plays.
Over and over Ray told his team,“The way you practice is the way you play.” That’s great advice, not just on the playing field, but on the page as well. Whenever we show up to write, just like those pint-sized Yankees Ray coached, we need to show up ready to work up a sweat — whether we’re mapping out a game plan, pulling together a rough draft or composing an email to send out into editorial cyberspace. The way we handle the times when not much is happening, when we’re “practicing,” counts for something. It’s giving these moments our best that creates the best we have to give.
Tags: writing, practice, rough drafts, passion, editorial cyberspace