girl holding yellow softball at her hip

Give Life Your Best Effort

If you have a positive attitude and constantly strive to give your best effort, eventually you will overcome your immediate problems and find you are ready for greater challenges.” – Pat Riley

 When I coached girls’ softball teams in the early 90’s I acknowledged and respected a very simple philosophy: The team is only as good as its weakest link.

In 1991, I was delighted when I was assigned to coach the Simons Construction team because there were no weak links.  All of the girls were good batters, throwers and fielders.  They were also very smart.

Some of the girls had egos that equaled or exceeded their talent.  Such girls always wanted to play the infield and routinely expressed their desire to be one of the first 4 within the batting order.

One of my favorite players on the team was Beth Cook.  She rarely, if ever, missed a practice.  She was an excellent contact hitter (i.e. hit lots of singles and an occasional double).  Beth also usually played left field.

Beth never complained about playing left field and I do not recall one instance when a ball got past her.  She also always knew where to throw the ball to cut off a runner.  Beth was usually 8th or 9th in the batting order and many times there were runners on base with two out when she came up to bat.   Beth acquired a whole lot of RBI’s that season.

When I reflect upon Beth and the wonderful contributions she provided to her team, an old phrase comes to mind: “What E’er Thou Art, Act Well Thy Part”.  This phrase is engraved upon a building that is located near the Stirling Castle in Scotland.

When participating in life’s daily activities we must give our very best effort.  Constantin Stanislavski said, “Remember: there are no small parts, only small actors.”

For example, if you are a student, you must focus your time, energy and effort and do your very best to become a respected expert in your field of study.   Athletics and music also demand nothing but your very best effort.

If you are married, provide the effort that is required to be a fantastic spouse.  Pay attention and do the big and little things that let your spouse know, in no uncertain terms, that you unconditionally love them with every fiber of your being.    If this means that you spend a few hours watching a Hallmark Channel movie with your wife when you would rather be watching the Golden State game, so be it.

If you are a parent, strive to acquire the title of “World’s Greatest Parent”.  They even have T-shirts and coffee cups to acknowledge such an achievement.  About a year ago, I wrote a column which sets forth a few suggestions about becoming a better parent (Counsel to new parents on children and family, WTE June 3, 2017).  If you have the opportunity, please revisit this column.

If you are employed, give nothing but your best effort during each and every hour of your work day.  Do not take your employment for granted.  Set the bar very high for all of those who work with and around you.

If you are a Christian, endeavor to be a contender for the Kingdom of Heaven.  Give Christianity your very best effort through consistent and intense prayer, scripture study, love, faith, charity, tolerance, hope, patience, church attendance, tithing and self-less service to family, friends and neighbors.    There is no room for pretenders in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

That being said, please know that there has been and shall always be only one who set the perfect example of what it means to be a Christian.  Even though perfection is far beyond our mortal reach, there are no excuses for a less than stellar effort to be a righteous child of God.

In whatever part we are playing, may we all remember Beth’s example of always doing her very best, regardless of the batting order or her position on the field.