Sunday, September 20, 2009

The third basemen is not trying to pitch

About 2 or 3 years ago I played with a local softball league. I played pitcher and first base and I was pretty darn good. My first season was so much fun; I met lots of people and had a ball.

Before second season a friend and I decided to host our own teams in the league as co-captains. So, we got a team of folks together, outlined positions, strategy, practice times, and practice locations and got ready to win.

I gotta tell you, I never worked so hard at something that was so unenjoyable.

We had about 10-12 folks, I can't remember exactly how many. Organizing a sports team is so much work and I don't think I can ever do it again. There's so much involved in directing the team. You have to decide everyone's strengths and weaknesses and put them in the position that will best utilize their strengths. You need to decide a time and a place to meet for practice that will result in the highest player attendance.

Then, what shall we practice? Batting? grounding? pitching? outfield throws? outfield catches? infield throws? infield catches? throws to first base? throws to catcher? throws to third base? strategy plays? fly's or fouls? Proper sliding techniques? So many options!

(this has a point, I promise...just stay with me)

How long shall we practice and how many days per week? And where is a good location that's convenient for those who live near our playing field and for those that live far away?

How often do we communicate with our team during the week and through what medium--text, email, phone call?

How seriously do we take the game if we lose? If we win?

And on game day, what if someone is hurt? Or can't make it to the game because of personal reasons? Who takes their place and can they play that position well? What happens when our team members fight one another? Or don't like the position we've put them in?

(almost to the point of this story...wait for it..wait for it...)

And the WORST part of all was dealing with all the complaints. Everyone on the team thought they were a superstar and wanted to take over as captains. Everyone wanted to tell us where to place them and how long they should be in the game. Listening to the constant complaining every week was so stressful that by the end of the season I hated playing softball, which was a shame because I was d*mn good pitcher.

So, why do I bring up softball leadership and organization on my OT site? This story has a very relevant point. As I study for my FIVE exams this week one theme is clear in every class:

Every structure, every organ, all the systems, have a place and a role in the body.


And even more amazing than that is the organization and direction of it all. The brain and the spinal cord are directing pretty much everything (although there are other leaders that do things without the brain's help I'm not going to go into that now). When I was leading that softball team it was so much friggin' work! All the decisions and the time we put into leading the team for just one 1.5 hour game a week. The return was minimal. Our team complained all the time and most didn't show up for practice so we lost...a lot.

But our central nervous system controls all our functions and structures with such ease. Directing the body is a lot of work. Directing our breathing, our heart rate, our food digestion, our temperature, our sleep patterns. Creating the appropriate response for harmless stressors, like an appropriate response to exercise, and for harmful stressors, like diseases and injury. And sometimes, our structures act without immediate direction from the brain, like when we touch a hot stove and move our hand reflexively.

Every cell and every unit knows what it's supposed to do and does it! Without complaint! Muscle cells don't try to conduct nerve impulses. The digestive system doesn't try to breathe. And the skin doesn't try to pump blood through the body.

Every unit has a role. Everyone does what they're built to do. Strengths are maximized.

And no one complains. No one tries to be the superstar. The body realizes that by working as a unit the team will win, the body stays healthy.

The third basemen is not trying to pitch...

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