If you’re still reading this series, it’s because you realize there’s more to playing the game, any game, than simply winning and losing. You want more than merely the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. You know the game has more to offer than just watching the scoreboard. You’re different, and that’s what I like about you. Instead of seeing things the way everyone else does, you want more, you want something deeper and more substantial. You want to play for more than the box score, the stat sheet, and newspaper articles.

Why do you play? That’s the question every Monday. We’ve covered playing because we can and playing just because it’s fun. What else does the game have to offer us that we might initially overlook?

We play to master something.

Let’s be honest for a minute. Incredibly few youth league players go on to play high school ball. Fewer go on to play college ball. Far fewer get a shot to play for pay. And relatively no one makes it to the Big Leagues. So, if you’re only going to be satisfied performing at the highest possible level, you’re going to be really disappointed and you’ll never get out of the game what it truly has to offer.

But, if you as a player or you as a coach can see deeper, the game will serve you well for many years after you’re done playing and coaching.

What if you played to prove to yourself that you can master something?

Here’s what I mean. Let’s say you struggle with plate discipline. When the pitcher throws it, you swing. Period. Obviously, this is a problem, since the pitcher isn’t throwing to hit your bat, but to miss it. Swinging at nearly everything he tossed plateward is a recipe for offensive failure. But, what if you determined to master plate discipline? What if you put your whole self into it? What if you practiced it? What if you studied hitters who are good at it? What if, by the season’s end, you mastered the art of plate discipline? What if you starting swinging only at good pitches and letting the bad ones go by? Game changer!

The point is this: not everyone is blessed with the talent to make it to the next level. I wasn’t. But everyone will need to know he can master something. One day, you’ll need to be able to master a skill for your job. One day, you’ll need to master how to keep a marriage healthy. One day, you’ll need to master being a great parent. I believe baseball and the quest for mastery in the game can help you, even in those seemingly unrelated areas.

Like I said, if you’re reading this, you’re looking for something more. What is it that you can master this season? Go for it. You have no idea what it will do for your future.

I’m praying for you this week as you master what God has set before you by the power of His Holy Spirit. Press on.