The wheel of fortune

It has been a rough few weeks in Little League. And the topper, our Opening Day will get rained out because of a storm that is rolling into our area early tomorrow morning. When confronted with situations like this, I think of the wheel of fortune. Not this one:

This one:

Here’s how Joseph Campbell described the wheel of fortune in The Power of Myth:

In the Middle Ages a favorite image that occurs in many, many contexts is the wheel of fortune. There’s the hub of the wheel, and there is the revolving rim of the wheel. For example, if you are attached to the rim of the wheel of fortune, you will be either above going down or at the bottom coming up. But if you are at the hub, you are at the same place all the time.

When you think of a wheel on a vehicle, the rim of it goes up and down in a circle, but the hub keeps moving forward.

Baseball is a game of ups and downs, sometimes seconds apart from each other. You can make a spectacular line drive single to right, and then get thrown out at second when you try to stretch it into a double. You can make a “SportsCenter Web Gem” stop at short and an accurate throw to first, but the first baseman drops the ball.

How do you cope with the highs and lows of baseball or anything else? You find the center.

Finding the center means looking beyond the momentary wins and losses and looking at the bigger picture. You can’t control the outcome of a situation, but you can control your effort and attitude. You can’t control the weather, but you can make a Plan B in case the worst happens. Finding the center means using mistakes and setbacks as learning tools. It’s realizing that your goal isn’t simply to win contests, but to use these experiences, win or lose, to help you become better and stronger.

Take this advice from Disney’s Mulan:

Once you find your center,
You are sure to win.

That’s because when we remove ourselves from the highs and lows, we can focus on our performance. We can give encouragement to those who do get swept up with a low. We can avoid both the complacency that comes when things go too well and spiraling negativity when things go too poorly. And when worst happens, we still have the faith and confidence to recover. Finding the center helps us cope with however the wheel of fortune turns.