How to Be a Champion in Life, Love & Sport

by Gina Parris

Cinderella Stories, Baseball Victories and Love

– by Gina Parris


Have you ever witnessed a victory that was more than just a win? I bet you have.

Yesterday I watched the last game of Firstborn’s junior college baseball conference playoffs. I left at noon for a game that started at 2:00 pm in blazing heat, and ended at 9:30 pm in a flooded field, with freezing – but ecstatic fans!

At the end of four days of play, our underdogs were better than nine other teams, including two that are nationally ranked. They were undefeated tournament champs, and proved what we all love to believe:

Cinderella lives!

The post-game celebration had to be at least as magical as any fairy-tale Royal Ball. The players, coaches and parents laughed, played and lingered on the field in jubilation. The boys, who had worked so hard all year, sometimes in resentment, looked once again like Little Leaguers. The smiles were uncontrollable. One of the superstar pitchers clutched the giant trophy close to his chest as if it were a baby.

“Well you have no idea,” he whispered, “I DID go through nine months of hell for this!”

All of us who are mothers, laughed hard.

“Oh yes, we have an idea!”

I kept thinking about that scene on the drive home. What in the world would cause me to give up 12 solid hours one day, and change next week’s plans for baseball? Isn’t it just a game?

Well, yes, and no.

Yes. It’s a game. No, it’s not just about a game.

It’s about the lessons.

  • It’s about setting goals and being willing to endure hellish moments of conditioning to reach them.
  • It’s about overcoming the doubts of everyone around you, and the doubts inside your self.
  • It’s about facing your own demons and errors and losses and choosing to still go on the field looking for victory.
  • It’s about loving your coach one day, hating him the next, loving him again, and realizing that commitment is worth it in the end.
  • It’s about trusting that ultimately, the Game knows.
  • It knows that for better or for worse, what you do in private will show up before the crowd.
  • It’s about character that is developed and that can never be taken from you.
  • It’s a about taking talent that you are born with, and turning it into skill through hours and hours of dedicated practice.
  • It’s about giving birth to the dream you’ve carried inside you for so long – and realizing that it’s never easy.

Baseball. Cinderella. Giving birth.

What else in life might those things remind YOU of?

I am reminded of so many things, but right now, it reminds me of marriage, of family, of commitment and pain and pleasure and anger and ecstasy.

I think of the days those boys signed their letters of intent to play ball. Surrounded by parents and coaches and athletic directors, the moment was full of hope and enthusiasm.

Like the bride and groom – surrounded by their wedding party.

The marriage begins.

The honeymoon is magical.

And then, Real Life sets in. There are good times and bad, for better or for worse.

Victory. Pain. Anger. Frustration. Victory. Loss. Victory. Happiness. Pain… and on it goes.

Finally one day the players, the lovers, decide that the commitment was worth it all. When that happens, they realize they will do whatever it takes. They will choose to keep playing to win.

That’s why we love a victory on a field. It represents more than winning a game. It speaks to the champion’s heart inside of each one of us.

I don’t know about you – but I certainly will keep playing to win! As I do, I’ll be right here…

In your corner!





  • Kory

    I’m just now getting to read this post but came at an opportune moment. I have a lot of work to do on a project tonight after a long Monday but it is something I have committed to doing as an initial step to reach a dream. You motivated me by encouraging me to know it’s in these little decisions, the daily decisions, to do the consistent action, necessary to achieve an end result.

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