A Lesson From Baseball That Includes Not LollyGagging

I respect great coaches because they teach young people that life is not just a game, but a journey.

This showed up on a twitter feed this evening and it applied somewhat to what I have been explaining to my students in class as the AP exams come up. It’s from Joe Maddon of the Chicago Cubs who now has a little jewelry to put on his ring finger.

But like a great coach, he has no time to admire what he has done. He’s to busy guiding his team.


Be present. You have to show up and be in that moment.

I teach four sections of Advanced Placement English. I have some bright, motivated students, many of whom take upwards of six AP classes, play sports, and do extra-curriculars. Some even have jobs.

They are stressed about right now. My class is not easy. If it was, then I would not be teaching it. With about a month until AP exams, students begin asking how many multiple choice questions they need to get correct or how well they need to do (on average) to pass the AP exam.

And I tell them the same thing every time. “Why would you have me tell you what you should do to do the bare minimum of what others may consider adequate? Only you can determine that.”

I am hoping they take more pride in the process of becoming self-learners who are self-motivated and self-driven and ultimately self-defined. Ultimately, if they seek to always improve instead of always being perfect, then there will be a point where they do not seek validation from an exam grade from a nameless face.

They will get validation because they believe in the process.

How appropriate that this quote comes out on Opening Day.


Play ball.  And don’t be a lollygagger.

Skip: You guys. You lollygag the ball around the infield. You lollygag your way down to first. You lollygag in and out of the dugout. You know what that makes you? Larry!
Larry: Lollygaggers!
Skip: Lollygaggers.


By the way, Bull Durham is one of the best written movies ever.