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Baseball & the Art of Health Keeping

baseball & the art of health keeping Nov 06, 2023


The San Francisco Giants were the first Baseball team that came to my attention when I was 9 or 10 years old. I remember the excitement of going to Candlestick Park to see Willie Mays in the peak of his fame. Reference: Willie Mays 500th HR.  I can recall feeling the ocean breeze caressing my face on that windy San Francisco afternoon at Candlestick Park. I was captivated by the inspiring sights of the Bay and deafening sounds of the crowd. Since then, the excitement of Baseball was a dormant memory until the 2022 Playoffs for the National League pennant between the San Diego Padres and the Philadelphia Phillies.

A few of my family members have been avid San Diego Padres fans for decades. Through their eyes, I began to understand why so many people are attracted to the sport of Baseball.  I decided to participate as a fan for the 2023 season. The Padres and their faithful fans have shown me how the process of playing baseball is true to life, as many have stated. The game also reflects the daily Art of Health Keeping.

The San Diego Padres 2023 team roster was packed with talent. The 2023 season was a mixture of great successes and intermittent failures. Despite this, I became a true fan of the Padres by the summer months. I found true to life inspiration from watching the team face their ups and downs in the presence of unconditional support by the loyal San Diego Padres Fans. 

It became crystal clear to me that the Padres’ public struggle with inconsistent game performances reflected the journey of people who have ongoing health and wellness challenges.

Here are 5 ways playing Baseball is like the Art of Health Keeping.

(For a QUICK read see the SHORT VERSION at the end.)

  1.  There are No days off.

Baseball: The season spans half the year beginning in the Spring, with the month of October reserved for the World Series and its playoffs. Major League Baseball (MLB) schedules 162 games in 26 weeks which is an average of 6 games per week and travel days are required most weeks. NO days off means daily body and whole self-care are vital.

Health Keeping: The body takes no days off. Thankfully our hearts and metabolic systems don’t go on vacation, day, or night.

  1.  Day by day, and play by play, do the little things that need to be done.

Baseball: Each player must follow daily routines and meet game day challenges. The key is to persevere, even if a player or team is in a performance slump.

 “Baseball is a lot like life. It’s a day-to-day existence, full of ups and downs.”  Ernie Harwell

Health Keeping: Daily Lifestyle is the foundation of Health Keeping, whether we feel like it or not.  This also applies to our willingness to take ownership for self-care and adopt a positive mindset with guardrails for daily routines and choices. We are the stewards of our whole self-care.

  1.  Discipline your Disappointments: unpack and process your emotions.

Baseball: Professional players know the vital act of “Let It Go” and move on. The game goes on, so get ready for the next play.

 Health Keeping: Control what we can and focus our mind on the present. Accept what we cannot change and seek resilience and the “Ability to Respond” appropriately. (Response-Ability)

“Every day is a new opportunity. You can build on yesterday’s success or put its failures behind and start over again. That’s the way life is, with a new game every day, and that’s the way baseball is.”  Bob Feller 

  1.  Growth mindset: learn from mistakes, forgive ourselves and others.

Baseball: A Perfect Game in Baseball is where a Pitcher allows no base runners and has 27 batters up that are all retired by strikeout or played out by the fielders. On June 2, 2010, Detroit Tiger pitcher, Armando Galarraga did just that. But on the final moment of the 27th play, the umpire, Jim Joyce, mistakenly called the runner safe. Galarraga was stunned but simply smiled and went back to pitch a 28th time completing a 28 player Perfect Game. This was before MLB rules allowed a field call reversal by “Instant Replay”. This policy was expanded in 2014 from the earlier 2008 replay rule for homerun plays only. The incident was major news in sports and the surprise-filled story was preserved by Joyce and Galarraga in their book, “Nobody’s Perfect”.

Health Keeping:  Trial and error are the most common ways to fine-tune individual health choices. Often there is no test or imaging to show us what is best for our health. We can use self-compassion to look at cause and effect in our personal food or activity choices. This way we can change our ways to reduce unpleasant effects in daily life. Self-compassion is like applying good sportsmanship within. We can learn and grow healthier by reviewing our choices and experiences.

  1.  Teamwork: Build your Team and combine skills and talents.

Baseball: Play as a team and pass the baton vs going for Hero batting and remember the Fans. The game is won by batters getting to homebase to score runs rather than the number of home runs hit. Professional players remember to show gratitude for the unconditional positive regard given by fans who show up in good times and bad to fill stadiums with cheers and encouragement.

Health Keeping:  Mr. Fred Rogers said, “Look for the helpers.” Our job is to find the people who can be Effective helpers for our unique set of needs in whatever systems of care we can access. We keep humility by doing our part with daily self-care and by continually building our Health Keeping team of effective helpers.

“Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher." Oprah Winfrey 


The Short Version:

5 Ways the Game of Baseball Reflects the Art of Health Keeping:

  1.  No days off- your body works every day and night of your life.
    •  How do you care for your body, day by day?
  2.  Doing the little things day by day combine to create your level of health and wellness.
    •  Every day you are compelled to seek air, water, food, hygiene, and connection to feed your cells and sustain body systems.
  3.  Discipline your Disappointments- unpack and process your emotions.
    •  Emotions are Energy- learn to process and regulate this resource to play your Best Game.
  4.  Keep a Growth Mindset: learn from mistakes.
    •  Forgive yourself and others with compassion and humility.
  5.  Teamwork is the key: find and partner with effective helpers. No one plays life or healthy living alone.
    •  How do you recognize Effective Helpers?


Have you got your own set of challenges in creating your Effective Health Keeping Team?

Would you like an ally to help you Navigate and Take Charge of your personal Health Journey and cultivate your Health Keeping Team? 

Contact Coach Patti Wohlin at [email protected]

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