The Good Press — Issue #63: Practice
A free-flowing, stream-of-consciousness issue about practice
Hello and welcome to another edition of The Good Press, a newsletter of observations about life, sports, and/or anything else that comes to mind.
Thanks for reading. I hope you find this issue to be worth your time.
Comments and reader suggestions are always welcome.
Please forgive and/or enjoy the rambling nature of today’s newsletter. I’ve got a particular idea for a future issue but I haven’t fully fleshed it out yet, so I will save that for another day. Instead, I was inspired to write this one today, and I thought a stream-of-consciousness issue would be a fun change of pace.
“Practice makes perfect,” so goes the old saying. The thing about that phrase, however, is that there’s really no such thing as perfecting a craft to the point of being finished practicing. Doctors and lawyers practice in perpetuity, after all. And so do many artists, performers, athletes, and people who practice for their lifestyles and/or religious beliefs. That can go for just about anything.
So practice doesn’t make perfect, necessarily. Often, the art is in the practice itself. The end results that we see are a product of practice, practice, practice.
The great ones — the ones we might consider masters of their crafts — are able to produce such excellent results because they love the process of practicing.
I, myself, am always practicing. I practice my writing with each and every issue of The Good Press. I practice my teaching skills by learning voraciously and enthusiastically sharing things I’ve learned with my friends and family. As I try to embark on a career in education, I know that I will never stop learning, nor would I want to. I’ve always been a learner at heart and I always will be.
So, to me, “practice makes perfect” isn’t about an end result, but about the process of getting better every day. If you’re not moving forward, you risk moving backward. The love for the process is what leads to sustained success.
It’s also why I try not to worry too much when things don’t go my way. If I know that my process is sound, I know that, eventually, the results will come. The ball doesn’t always bounce your way, but you can’t give up when it doesn’t. Just as you can’t rest on your laurels when it does bounce your way, because success is not guaranteed, not without a strong foundation of work.
In Other Words
Practice, practice, and practice some more. It’s the best way to get where you want to be. And once you get there, know that the practicing doesn’t stop.
It’s why all the great athletes still practice like it’s a real game, so they’re always prepared for anything that might arise during a game. The best hitters in baseball still take batting practice every day. The best pitchers in the game still throw a pitching session (or two) in the bullpen in between their starts.
I’m not a pro baseball star, but as you can tell, I sure love to write about the things that come to mind for me, and baseball is never far from the forefront.
The most important things in my life, though, are my loved ones. My fiancée, as many know, is the reason I picked up the proverbial pen again after many years away from writing. All the hard work that I do in my professional endeavors is to work my way towards the life that we dream about together.
Loving each other is one of our favorite pastimes, something we practice every day, and something we’ll never get tired of practicing. Every day we aim to love each other the best we can, and that’s a process that will never wane.
So here’s to the art of practicing and the act of doing. Not just to reach a destination but to appreciate the journey, staying present in the moment.
I’d like to congratulate the newly crowned NBA champions, the Milwaukee Bucks, who won their first championship in 50 years Tuesday night. They were the best and healthiest team remaining after they defeated my Brooklyn Nets last month, and they are a worthy, deserving champion.
Just know that we are coming for that crown next year. Hopefully, with a normal offseason and upcoming season in the fall, Brooklyn will be able to avoid the injury bug that derailed their championship push this season. Star player Kevin Durant is in Tokyo to compete in the Olympics, and he is determined to win his third Olympic gold medal (and third NBA championship).
As for those Olympics? Well, they’re still scheduled to happen, despite a lot of early issues with the still-raging COVID-19 pandemic that has already forced athletes to withdraw, including American tennis star Coco Gauff.
As a follow-up to a recent issue I wrote that mentioned American sprinter and activist Allyson Felix, I was happy to read about her new project of creating a childcare fund for athlete mothers at the Olympics. After the turbulence she faced in her life trying to balance athletics and motherhood, it’s a wonderful thing to see. Kudos to her new sponsor for stepping up.
Allyson Felix and Athleta Providing $200K to Help Mom Athletes with Child Care During Olympics
"As a mom and an athlete, I know first-hand the obstacles women face in sports," says six-time gold medalist Allyson…
The Olympics are still going to be a tricky proposition if you ask me. The bloom is definitely off the rose when it comes to all of the hassles of hosting responsibilities for the Games, and that was before the viral pandemic. The athletes have trained so hard for this, but it makes me uneasy thinking about how much risk is involved in trying to stage this extravagant event right now.
In another update of a story written about previously in these parts, the incredible baseball life of Drew Robinson has a new, exciting chapter I’m happy to share. After a successful comeback as a player, Robinson has decided to accept a new role as a mental health advocate with the San Francisco Giants, which means he will transition away from a playing career.
Drew Robinson retiring to join Giants' front office
Drew Robinson, who survived a suicide attempt and returned to play baseball with one eye, will retire as a player to…
Tuesday was his final game as a professional baseball player, and he got a standing ovation from fans, teammates, and everybody else on the field.
He also had one last on-field highlight in his bag of tricks, as the one-eyed outfielder kept his eye on the ball to make an amazing diving, juggling catch in one of his last plays as a player, earning the #1 top play spot on SportsCenter.
Now, he leaves the on-field life for a higher purpose in foul territory: helping others, the same way so many have helped him. The Giants have themselves a good one, and I’m thrilled to see him find his calling in the game he loves.
For those of you on pins and needles, I am happy to report that the weather held up at the ballgame a few weeks ago. My family and I were able to enjoy a lovely night at the ballpark, and even though the home team came up short, my little cousin got a baseball from one of the coaches at her very first game. (One of the perks of being adorable while sitting near the home team’s dugout!)
My parents have since returned to Florida, and it was so good to see them and hug them again. My fiancée and I had dinner with both our parents, the six of us in total enjoying some delicious home cooking at her parents’ place.
You just can’t beat moments like that. Family, feasts, and fun times.
It went by so fast, but time flies when you’re having fun, doesn’t it?
Next month, Dead & Company will be playing a show here in New York, at the very same ballpark where we went to the baseball game together. I’d say the sounds and stylings of the Grateful Dead are a great reason to meet up again, and I would not be surprised if we all find ourselves at the concert together.
I’m sure Bob Weir would say that even he hasn’t perfected the art he’s been making for so many decades. Every show is just another chance to practice.
Till next time,
Previously in The Good Press
The Good Press — Issue #62: The Baseball Experience
There’s nothing like the experience of being at a ballgame with people you care about. You might even see something…
July 7, 2021
The Good Press — Issue #61: Refresh
A fresh new champion is guaranteed in the NBA, some thoughts on Olympic athletes chasing their dreams, and always…
June 23, 2021
The Good Press — Issue #60: Pause
Reflecting on 60 straight weeks of writing The Good Press and what comes next…
June 9, 2021