Pitcher Doug Fister–Rock Star in Baseball and My New Role Model: Part 2

by Judy Stone-Goldman on October 21, 2011

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Reflection and writing are ways I stay within myself

A moment of solitude as I strive to stay within myself

In Doug Fister Becomes a Rock Star on the Big Stage of Postseason Baseball: Part 1, I wrote about how pitcher Doug Fister ended up in postseason play after a tough season with a losing team. In fact, players get traded all the time, and some lucky ones end up on contending teams. So what was different about this story, and why is Doug Fister my new role model?

Fister had every reason to be discouraged during the season in Seattle. He was working in a dismal situation, and the win-loss statistics said he was a loser. But you’d never know this from how Fister behaved.

He worked doggedly. He expressed support for his team even though their lack of hitting led to demoralizing losses. He did not turn over tables or bash walls or do any number of things frustrated athletes have been known to do. When he began pitching poorly in the second half of the season, he gave no excuses.

Doug Fister separated himself from the metrics placed on him. He practiced staying focused while developing his skills, refusing to let circumstances define him. He developed the capacity to work under the least rewarding conditions, foregoing resentment and blame. He worked with determination and trust, trust in his potential, trust in his team, trust in the potential of his world to get better.

And when his world did get better, he was ready, not just because he had developed his pitches, but because he’d developed himself.

People often talk about the character a pitcher brings to the game–whether he can stay focused under pressure, whether he has the resilience to bounce back after a big hit or a big loss. Pitchers are said to “stay within themselves” when they tolerate the uncertainties, pressures, and bad breaks inherent in the game and control their emotions so they can continue to pitch effectively. Fister’s character shone through all his bad numbers.

So many of life’s anxieties flare when we go outside ourselves. We worry about whether people like us or like our work. We feel inadequate, never enough. We wonder what others are thinking. We try to second guess what will happen. We play out scenarios in our head, all the “what ifs” or fears. We lose ourselves, and then we can’t pitch at all.

I had trouble writing this second post on Doug Fister. In the parlance of baseball, I had a personal rain delay and then hit a slump. I couldn’t remember what I wanted to say or how to let words come out. I forgot me and saw only “others” and “expectations” (like needing to hit a home run or give a huge payoff).

I finally realized that my writing block was a piece of the whole Fister story. Fister didn’t get lost in all the “outside of self” stuff that can burden and derail us. He let all the “-less” words drift away (hapless, winless, hopeless), and he paid attention to the things he could control: his practice, his pitches, and his attitude.

It’s easy to get distracted by the size of our stage or whether we’re getting our fair share of lucky breaks. But the story of Doug Fister reminds me that no matter where I end up playing, I can always work on being the self I want to be. To develop character, stay within myself, and throw as many really good pitches as I can–that’s how I can practice being Doug Fister today.

Questions for Reflection: What does it mean to you to stay within yourself? What kinds of thoughts and feelings come up for you when you go outside yourself? What does it mean to you to have character in your life? What will be important to you if you move to a bigger stage?

Writing Prompts: “When I stay within myself I ______” (then keep writing); “When I go outside of myself, my thoughts start to ______” (then keep writing); “The best way for me to stay focused and productive is to ______” (then keep writing); “If I move to a bigger stage I want to be able to ______” (then keep writing).

Postscript:  The Tigers got knocked out of the American League Championship Series and didn’t advance to the World Series (despite Fister’s impressive pitching in a must-win situation), which just goes to show that even in fairy tales, there are no guarantees.

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{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

Trish
Twitter:
October 21, 2011 at 12:44 pm

Judy, Wow, this hit home with me (does that mean you hit a home run?). :-)

I am really quite well known in my circle of friends for my disclaimers about my writing, my efforts, etc. It’s something I have to work on all the time to beat these negative thoughts into the background and keep plugging away. I admire anyone (you, Doug Fister) who can do it.

One of my favorite “go to” quotes is by Sir Walter Raleigh: “I may not be able to write a book commensurate with Shakespeare but I can write a book by me.”

You are so wise to recognize how important it is to stay within ourselves and not let the outside “what ifs” get in our own way. Thanks for Part 2, Judy.

Trish
http://www.robertssister.com
caregiving. family. advocacy.

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Judy Stone-Goldman
Twitter:
October 21, 2011 at 3:35 pm

Hi Trish, I love that quote – in truth, we can only be ourselves, right? Thanks so much for the support and appreciation–home run, single, good at bat–I accept any and all interpretations! As for writing a book, you’ve already done that, so you’ve got quite a bit of Doug Fister in you, I believe. Here’s to our ability to stay within ourselves. Judy

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bill austin howe
Twitter:
October 21, 2011 at 3:22 pm

In the middle of writing you the most eloquent comment (you’ll have to take my word for it) my Kapersky anti-virus detected an unidentified source trying to use my wi-fi so it shut me down. Well, that’s what I pay it to do. Not complaining.

Anyway… On with the recreation of pure Austin/Bill gold.

Every time I think your writing just can’t get any better, you pull another rabbit out of your hat. This post was wonderful in every possible way. The subject, the philosophy (much like my own), the excuisite writing style, all worked together to inspire me. This post worked for me on so many levels I have read it several times. I rarely reread anything.

I have to apologize for being one of the people who pessured you about writing this post. I did use the term “home run”. Sorry. It’s hard to tell the difference between a gentle nudge and a full on press sometimes. You know I meant well. Just call me an overzealous fan.

That said, and without any pressure, I really think you should publish a book. Even a compilation of your posts would be a great read. No pressure but have it on my desk by Monday! LOL But no pressure.

Love you and your brilliant work.

Austin/Bill

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Judy Stone-Goldman
Twitter:
October 21, 2011 at 3:37 pm

Bill, Your lost comment couldn’t have been funnier and sweeter than this one! Truly, you are a great fan :) But no need to apologize for supposed pressure, as that’s part of the point: no matter what comes from the outside, it’s up to us to stay focused within. In fact, your comments were incredibly supportive, and it was only my slump that created the pressure.

As for my book, I may have to hire you as a writing coach or cheering section! Thanks for the nudge (though the deadline won’t quite work…) Sending love back to you, Judy

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Heidi & Atticus
Twitter:
October 21, 2011 at 5:11 pm

“Fister didn’t get lost in all the “outside of self” stuff that can burden and derail us. He let all the “-less” words drift away (hapless, winless, hopeless), and he paid attention to the things he could control: his practice, his pitches, and his attitude.” — I’m in Love with this paragraph!!

We can only control what we can control yet it’s easy to slide into those outside expectations and hurdles. Fister is such a dynamic example of concentrating and working on what Is within our control — hard work, dedication and most importantly an excellent attitude.

I’m happy that you are out of your hitting (or writing) slump — we all have those periods. But what’s important is how we move onward and upward from those circumstances that put us on the DL.

Please add me to your cheerleading squad when you decide to put a book together! I know a lot of rally cries and I can jump up & down really well :)

Love this post, Judy!! So happy you are back

Heidi & Atticus
http://www.atticusuncensored.com
“commentary to give you paws…”

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Judy Stone-Goldman
Twitter:
October 22, 2011 at 2:03 pm

Thanks for the “Welcome Back” Heidi & Atticus. It does feel like I was away – the DL is a great addition to the baseball metaphors. And just like those athletes, we do hit the slumps and the mental injuries. You are so right that what matters is how we move forward. The message in this post–and the paragraph you picked out–is something I need to keep reminding myself of as I go along. I’ll certainly invite you (both) to my cheering section for that book!

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Franziska San Pedro
Twitter:
October 22, 2011 at 6:56 am

Hi Judy,
I feel the love in the comment section!
Just like you, Fister and all of us, we need to listen to our own voices rather than the outside noise. When I was 18, I wrote a poem (it’s in German but I can translate it). I wrote it when I had my graduation just ahead of me (and a tragic love story behind me) and I didn’t know which path I should take -too many decisions to make, feelings in the way and too many people giving me well meant advice! It goes something like this:

I am walking down my street of life
Everybody is yelling at me
It gets louder and louder
And louder
But there is this distinct voice
It is less noisy but it stands out
As I keep on walking
It gets very quiet
The noise fades away
And suddenly I feel the one
It is my own

Ever since I wrote this, I understood I needed to focus on what I want and block out the outside. As you can imagine, as a teenager, this task wasn’t that easy and there were a lot of lessons to be learned along the way. I thank god for sending me this wisdom because it has always helped me when I made a mistake or took a detour to accept my situation and realize that I am the creator of my life. Regret, guilt and bitterness have no room in my life for I am in charge of my boat.

When I give advice to others, I always tell them: don’t listen to others, do what is perfect for you -and don’t even listen to me!
Should you ever decide to write a book, I will be there cheering and supporting :-)
I feel the love…

Franziska San Pedro
The Abstract Impressionist Artress

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Judy Stone-Goldman
Twitter:
October 22, 2011 at 2:06 pm

Franziska, Your comment is a blog post in its own right–really, you should think about transferring it. I love not just the poem but how you remember it as pivotal in your life at an important time. Very impressive for a teenager (especially after that tragic love story). You are certainly diverse in skills, from boars to poetry… Thanks for the support, now and when the book arrives!

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Jaspreet Mundeir, ND
Twitter:
October 24, 2011 at 9:24 am

I think our character has the opportunity to shine when we are faced with obstacles. We either rise, meet the challenge and shine through or we become victims and let the situation get the best of us. You shared an inspiring story of how Doug Fister worked on bettering himself during tough times, we should all learn from his example. Especially us entreprenuers, because we all need to work on re-inventing ourselves and bettering ourselves as we work on our business.

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Judy Stone-Goldman
Twitter:
October 24, 2011 at 10:12 am

Hi Jaspreet, I think part of the story about Doug Fister that really affected me was how hard he worked without any guarantees. He might have stayed on the Mariners’ team and continued to have little support. Who knows how and when his talents would have really shone through. But he didn’t worry about that–just focused on developing himself. Definitely a good role model!

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Vicki Dello Joio
Twitter:
October 24, 2011 at 10:14 am

Beautiful and timely, Judy. I was just driving home from dropping my little dog at the vet and wondering about how I was going to cover the bill. I was musing on the ways I have been working quite hard and yet not getting the kind of payoff I need these days, economics being what they are, and feeling a little depressed. Then I noticed how part of my focus was how important validation from others felt, th ways I have heard my work how changed people’s lives for the better over the years and woe-is-me—things are not how they used to me and I just had to laugh at myself. Your prompts, that I plan to work w in my journal later, couldn’t have come at a better time for me to delve deeper into this reflection. Thank you once again…

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Judy Stone-Goldman
Twitter:
October 24, 2011 at 10:21 am

Vicki, It’s clear how skilled you are in following reflections further into your own experience. I love having you comment as I can really hear the ways you follow your own process. By the way, hoe your little dog is ok! My cat has a chronic disease and we spend so much money on her we try not to think too hard! But she’s healthy day by day, and she brings a lot of pleasure into my life (and fur balls, too…) Attitude and perspective are the ticket!

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Rachel
Twitter:
October 24, 2011 at 3:36 pm

I absolutely love this phrase, “stay within ourselves” – I’ve just today had a moment where I met a challenge and was definitely not within but was quite outside myself. It’s a great reminder that, as we face challenges, we are able to learn and grow who we are by how we respond to adversity. Thanks for the post – loved it!

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Judy Stone-Goldman
Twitter:
October 25, 2011 at 3:07 pm

Rachel, It’s interesting how intuitive our understanding is of the phrase “stay within yourself” or “going outside yourself”–we understand it, but still in living we sometimes forget about it. Thanks for reading and commenting!

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Dennis Salvatier
Twitter:
October 24, 2011 at 3:51 pm

As a designer who is working to become independent and offer my personal works for sale in the near future, this hits home. We sometimes have to compare ourselves to others, but the value of what we bring to the table is that only we could bring it in the first place. Great post.

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Judy Stone-Goldman
Twitter:
October 25, 2011 at 4:10 pm

H Dennis, Yes, I think independent people, especially creative ones, have to stay very tuned in so as to stay within rather than getting distracted by others’ opinions. Being unique can be a challenge, but then it brings the reward.

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Susan Berland
Twitter:
October 24, 2011 at 10:27 pm

I love this story. To me it’s also about perseverance. I’m one stubborn cookie and turning that to perseverance has allowed me to change a negative to a positive. Maybe a little like Fister did, but just a little! Reminds me of keep you eye on the ball or keep you eye on your goal and don’t let anything stop you, especially yourself!

Susan Berland
A Picture’s Worth
http://susan-berland.com

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Judy Stone-Goldman
Twitter:
October 25, 2011 at 3:06 pm

Hi Susan – I think you are right, that perseverance is very much part of this story. You can’t make your way through any tough times without it. Fister definitely kept his eye on the ball–literally and metaphorically! There’s strength in stubbornness when that stubborn streak is put to good use.

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Alara Castell
Twitter:
October 25, 2011 at 10:37 am

How I have missed your writing Judy! I know when I stay within myself and stay true to me then all is good in the world. It’s when I get outside of myself that everything gets overwhelming and stressful.

I see this in myself and within my clients. It’s so easy to get influenced by the outside when in realty the power is inside. We just have to keep seeing that prize, that bigger picture and moving towards that. Nothing can stop us but ourselves.

Thank you for sharing such a wonderful story.

xoxo
Alara Castell
Purveyor of Prosperity & Laughter
http://www.alaracastell.com

Reply

Judy Stone-Goldman
Twitter:
October 25, 2011 at 3:08 pm

Alara, So nice to see you here! It’s been a while since we’ve connected, hasn’t it… I know you are someone who does know the power within. Staying true to what we know about what’s inside of us–that’s half the battle!

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Pat Zahn
Twitter:
October 25, 2011 at 11:27 am

Wow, I hope you sent this to Doug Fister’s PR guy… I think even for us “non-sports” types we see the life analogies in sports. I can’t imagine how much strength of character it takes to have that much attention and pressure placed on you and still continue to perform and improve. We all have to deal with this, but not with so many eyes on us. To your questions: I learned a long time ago that while outside input is important and necessary to development, ultimately, I listen to ME.

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Judy Stone-Goldman
Twitter:
October 25, 2011 at 3:10 pm

Hi Pat, I’ve thought about wishing Doug Fister could see my blogs about him. I’m probably not his standard fan! But to me sports illustrate so much about life, especially when viewed through the experiences of stand-up guys like Fister (rather than the ones out there creating ugly headlines…) It’s funny because I’m not athletic, but I relate so much to the experience and I so admire the poise and determination. Good for you, listening to you!

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Rick Clemons
Twitter:
October 25, 2011 at 1:19 pm

Judy I love the “Questions for reflection,” and “Writing Prompts.” It was a breath of fresh air to discover those gems at the end of a beautiful story. And my favorite phrase that you shared was “I can always work on being the self I want to be.”

I find it interesting that people are constantly saying, “I need to do this,” or “I have nothing to do.” With that statement, you just gave them the reason to ask the question, “Do you really need to do that thing or would you rather being the self you want to be!”

Great post.

Rick Clemons
The Coming Out Coach
http://www.rickclemons.com

Reply

Judy Stone-Goldman
Twitter:
October 25, 2011 at 3:12 pm

Hi Rick, So glad you have you discover the questions and prompts — I think everyone can learn something interesting through reflection and writing. Looking forward to future connections with you and seeing your work.

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Brenda Jones
Twitter:
October 25, 2011 at 1:23 pm

I’m not a baseball fan… at all… so at first, it was a tough read for me because my brain really shuts off at the mention of baseball, lol. But I’m glad that I kept reading because your lesson is one I need to hear again and again. I’m working on it, but I will often assume what other people are thinking about me and doing that keeps me stuck in an unrealistic place of fear. I am a very self-conscious person. Always have been. But I also accept that living like that limits me from actually living… which is why I’m glad I got a reminder again today. Thank you.

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Judy Stone-Goldman
Twitter:
October 25, 2011 at 3:14 pm

Brenda, I thought I might have some people feel a little stressed about the baseball topic, but as you saw, it wasn’t really about baseball. (Now Part I of the blog was pretty baseball-y!) So glad you could see the message and not get waylaid by a bit of sports talk. I love baseball, but I write about it because I think there’s so much to learn in it and to me the game illustrates life at its best.

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Donna McCord October 25, 2011 at 10:36 pm

This was really inspirational to me and I could certainly relate; as I have told you before, I truly enjoy your writing and have missed reading your postings! I have that tendency to “go outside myself” as I have always been so in need of approval from others, but over the years I am beginning to realize that I can’t please everyone, but if I can focus on being who I want to be and believe that I am doing my best, then I can be pleased with myself. It is not always so easy to do, so when I learn of someone like Fister it is encouraging! He may not have experienced the “fairly tale” ending, but just look at how he has impacted you and now all of us who are reading your blog and feeling uplifted by his actions and your words! It’s amazing to me how much we can learn from each other and I truly believe that God works through each of us in ways we may never know, but in ways that can inspire, teach and heal. Thank you, Judy, for this great story that reminds me to let go of my childhood fears of rejection and inadequacy.

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Judy Stone-Goldman
Twitter:
October 26, 2011 at 11:03 am

Donna, Many of us have a lifelong task of “letting go”–all those fears, all those ways we think we are not good enough. If there is a lesson for us it is that persistence is required but progress is possible! You always bring your authentic self to your comments, so you obviously have a powerful inner strength to share. Love having you as a reader–hope you’ll subscribe and then I get to enjoy your wonderful comments any time you are moved to write!

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Molly Perry
Twitter:
October 26, 2011 at 8:04 am

I truly don’t think we find out who we are and what we are made of until we face adversity. It is our response to it that determines us and shows others our character. It is often hard to see that in the midst of turmoil, but only later do we realize the growth we’ve made.

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Judy Stone-Goldman
Twitter:
October 26, 2011 at 11:04 am

Molly, It’s always hard in the middle of that adversity to trust what it will be teaching us, but you are so right–afterwards the growth is shown to us.

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Jillian
Twitter:
October 26, 2011 at 12:25 pm

Judy, I absolutely love your writing (and wish I was so good at it myself-ha!). I’m with Brenda, I hate baseball and thought, “Oh, no! I’m not going to be able to comment on this at all!” I was so pleasantly surprised…

I think you are spot on; we have to be willing to work toward our own goals without any guarantee of success.

I’ll tell you a secret: I am not a team player. I recognized early on that I could not deal with it when I had to rely on others to do their part to win. I have always relied on myself to do my best and win for myself. I push myself harder than anyone has ever been able to push me. Mom said I was never a “carrot or stick” person.

Reading about Doug shows that when you work on yourself to do your best to win, it’s not mutually exclusive to winning in a team. Hmmm…

To answer your prompts: “When I stay within myself I feel confident, self reliant and like a winner in the game of life. I feel authentic.”

“When I go outside of myself, my thoughts start to work against me. I feel like I have to hustle to be worthy. Sell myself down the river to be accepted.” “The best way for me to stay focused and productive is to keep to my list…listen to my brainsync audios…take a break for fun.” “If I move to a bigger stage I want to be able to change the world!”

Jillian
Jillian Todd Portrait Couture
Portrait Couture is for every woman who has looked in the mirror and not seen her own beauty…

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Judy Stone-Goldman
Twitter:
October 26, 2011 at 1:55 pm

Hi Jillian, So glad you took a breath and dove in–and found this wasn’t about baseball! I find it interesting how you know you aren’t a team player–very important to recognize that. I have always loved being on a team, including with many of my best jobs, and I’ve never seen it as contrary to developing that self within. Perhaps that speaks to the kind of team I’ve been on. Loved how you filled in the prompts. I could really hear the power and confidence you exude, and I have no doubt you are changing the world with your wonderful work in promoting healthy body image. Thanks for a great and in-depth comment.

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Louise Edington
Twitter:
October 26, 2011 at 1:49 pm

“Fister didn’t get lost in all the “outside of self” stuff that can burden and derail us. He let all the “-less” words drift away (hapless, winless, hopeless), and he paid attention to the things he could control: his practice, his pitches, and his attitude.” – I too LOVE this paragraph!!! Wonderful writing.

This all reminds me of the serenity prayer, not that I’m particularly religious. I always go back to basics when things are not going well and try to change the way I look at things (control my attitude) and persist in doing the things that have worked before until it all turns around.

This is an amazing post!
Louise Edington
Breaking Through Online Frontiers
http://louiseedington.com

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Judy Stone-Goldman
Twitter:
October 26, 2011 at 1:57 pm

Hi Louise, I can imagine Fister had many opportunities to say the Serenity Prayer–all those times he pitched so well and still lost (when with the Mariners)! So much of staying within ourselves requires coming back to that reality…that so much is beyond our control (including what others think of us). You are obviously a pro at coming back to yourself. Always great to be inspired by you.

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Laurie Hurley
Twitter:
October 26, 2011 at 4:22 pm

This post brings to mind the words, “I am my worst enemy”. My self-talk has to be positive or I will fail. When I find myself talking negatively, I reflect on all things I am good at and pull on those experiences. As I get older I am not as hard on myself anymore. I use my running as a time to “dig deep” to think. I don’t run with music anymore. It was just another excuse to focus on something other than my thoughts. If a run can be meditational in nature, it works better for me.

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Judy Stone-Goldman
Twitter:
October 26, 2011 at 8:40 pm

Laurie, I do think maturity helps us move beyond our self-criticism, at least if we are working on it. I really like how you are using your running free of music. I’ve become aware of how much distraction external noise creates for me, taking me away from my thoughts and reflections.

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