The reason baseball is known as America’s Pastime is because it’s America’s Downtime. It is rest for our souls. It is America’s calming and satisfying occupational therapy. Since the mind is always busy solving problems, it is constantly thinking about obstacles, work or the troubles of the day until we occupy it with something else to think about. When we do, it lowers our stress and gives us peace. And that rest gives us fresh eyes to innovate, solve problems and do better work.
The main criticism of baseball, by the younger generation, is that it’s not fast paced enough, like the video games and Transformer movies they’ve been conditioned with. But they don’t know what they don’t know. The value of taking downtime, like buying quality goods, is something a young person could never figure out on their own without being taught about or feeling the pain of.
If we don’t intentionally buy quality or add downtime into our lives now, it’ll cost us more later. With quality goods, you have to experience wasting money a few times on low quality leather shoes or belts or briefcases that only last or look good for a year. Then you happily spend three times as much on a quality piece that looks better with use and lasts for decades. It’s buy nice or buy twice, all day long.
With downtime, if we don’t intentionally choose activities that take our mind off of things and give our souls rest, then sooner or later, life will choose our downtime for us. And trust me, your choice will always be more enjoyable than nature’s choice for you because nature’s choice usually has something to do with poor health or damaged relationships.
The most commonly sung song in America is Happy Birthday. Do you know what number two is? Take Me Out To The Ball Game. Do you know why? Because millions and millions of people go to baseball games every year. They enjoy the traditions of America’s Downtime like standing up and singing that song during the seventh inning stretch just after they polished off their hotdog smothered with everything on it. They understand the value and peace that downtime brings.
And baseball is one of the calmest of America’s downtime sports for a reason. In almost every sport, the clock is ticking down and time is running out. They rush and hurry until crunch time hits. And then they really rush and hurry even more. There is excitement and stress and hurry aplenty. Like we need more of that in our lives. Baseball has excitement for sure, but not so much of the stress and hurry.
And if you're tied at the end of 9 innings, no big deal; take your time. That's okay. Everyone fairly gets three more outs to try to get more runs than the other guy. There’s no time limit, no rush, no hurry. Everyone just keeps on keeping on until someone wins. And then we all go home.
So why hurry so much and not take that much needed and deserved downtime? Don’t you know that you’re going to die and then someone who didn’t deserve or earn your money is going to have fun squandering it or giving it away? And then everybody forgets your name. As they say in Bora Bora, “Why run when you can walk?” So leave your phone at home and go enjoy a fun, peaceful, life-nourishing game of America’s Downtime.