I wish I was Justin Verlander....
I don't know how many women in America feel this way; I'm sure many men do.
I wish I were Verlander not because he's a professional athlete, not because he dated a supermodel, and not because he makes $28 million dollars a year to do what he loves doing. No, I wish I were the Detroit Tigers' ace not because of what he does, but because of how he does it.
I'm not a huge A's fan, but I wanted October baseball to stay in the Bay Area. I watched Game 5 of the ALDS with the hope that the Athletics might prevail. Tigers and A's fans know what I saw: total domination. #35 took a no-hitter into the seventh inning. JV made it a postseason-record 30 straight scoreless innings against one team; he allowed only two hits and three men on base in eight innings.
There are even more impressive numbers behind his feat but there's an aspect to Verlander's craft that only those who watched can understand. His statistics can allude to it, but what I saw speaks to the power of witness.
There were several outs in that game where Verlander didn't even wait for the called third strike from the umpire. He simply walked off the mound and headed for the dugout. He knew that third batter of the inning was another victim to his fastball, thus ending the side. His motto? TCB--Takin' Care of Business. His action? Don't look back. His message? Let's do this.
I wondered what would it be like to be so confident in what you do, that you can present yourself in such a way that says "I own this." What's it like to have everything depending on you only to respond with "I'm going to deliver—thank you very much." Do I believe in my ability enough that the response from authority doesn't matter. It's an interesting and humbling way to reflect on what you do and how you do it.
I brought this image a step further. Do I have enough conviction behind my beliefs—doctrinal, moral, or personal that I could stand behind them in a similar way? I think I might. That love is a powerful force and the Incarnation made all the difference are two of them. So the sanctity of life. Try me.
It should go without saying that no one gets to that place without a relentless commitment to the cause—perseverance and focus. Verlander Sends Tigers Past A's in Game 5 Gem" confirms that Verlander did that. "I'm pitching the way I'm supposed to. I worked my butt off all year to try to get consistent and get myself where I needed to be," Verlander said. "I feel like it finally paid off at the end of the year."
It certainly did. I can't speak to the ambiance at the Oakland Coliseum, but from my vantage point all I saw was mercury rising.
I've been around for enough postseasons now to know these games are extraordinary. We see the best of the best in October and Verlander in Game 5 was no exception. And these games speak to us not only because of the gifts and talents of great athletes on display, and not because their teams and communities rally behind them with great passion but because I believe they always reveal something about someone that goes much deeper.
A truth about humanity...a glimpse of beauty that is one for the ages....an insight that we can all stand behind with total conviction. TCB. I own this. Don't look back. Believe. Thanks JV
Humbled by the SF Giants ;-)