Thursday, January 2, 2014

Omnipotence in the New Year

by Doyne Phillips, Managing Editor for Southern Writers Magazine

Omnipotent is a word I have never associated with anyone but deity. I do believe that the definition used as having unlimited power, control or effect can be applied with individuals. In particular, individuals who are focused.

Landen wanted to play baseball for the American Legion League. He was late in signing up but was allowed to do so. The team was large and he was one of the youngest and smaller players but definitely had talent. He was placed on the younger team which played after the first game.

Not long into the season the younger players began to tire of the heat of the summer, the waiting for the second game and the losses which just seemed to keep coming. Soon they began to leave the team until there were no longer enough of the younger players to field the second game. Now the younger players could only hope to get a chance to play on the starting team as relief or in the case of an injury. Landen found himself as one of only two of the younger players left.
The season did not go well. Going into the regional playoffs, Landen’s team had won one game during regular season play. He did get into the game on occasion, pitching an inning or so or playing second base. He was thrilled with that. Getting a hit at bat encouraged him enough to continue on the team when others continued to quit. Going into the regionals he found that he was one of only eleven players left on the team. He was the only one left who had played on the younger team.

As the Regionals began, an amazing thing happened: they began to win. It was unexpected but thrilling to see. They had swept the Regionals all the way to the finals. The team had been so impressive they were invited to the State Playoffs before the tournament winner was decided.

The State Playoffs began with the team now being down to only ten players. Landen found himself the only player in the dugout watching the first game of the playoffs which they lost. It was a double elimination tournament so they had another game to play the next day but it would be against the team they lost to in the finals in the Regionals. It didn’t look good.

The following day upon arriving at the game, Landen found that one of the 1st string players had been benched due to disciplinary actions. Landen was the 9th player and in the game as they took the field against the team they had yet to beat during the year. Landen did a great job in the game and was the winning run. They were to return to the tournament the next day to find themselves eliminated in a loss to the team that went on to win State.

The team returned home for a great reception and recognition by the city. At that ceremony an award was given as is done each season to the team member with the most spirit. This individual receives a plaque, and their name is written on the wall honoring them through the years. Landen was overwhelmed to see his name go up on the wall. His determination and persistence do not go unnoticed.  

Following are the words of Tom Black of the Tom Black Center. I hope you can use them to guide you through the New Year.

“Persistence and determination together are omnipotent. You never fail unless you quit. Successful individuals have clearly defined game plans, which they review constantly. They know where they are going every day, every month, and every year. Things don't just happen in their lives; they make them happen. Don't let anything stand in your way. Your level of persistence in the face of adversity and disappointment will be a measure of belief in yourself. Associate with people who share your goals and work habits. You must follow the leaders who are the best at what they do.”
Tom Black Center