Holiday Fun: Scoring a Baseball Game on Paper

Recently my family went together to a KC Royals baseball game, only my second live game of the season. Usually at the park I’m on my phone between innings (along with nearly everyone else!) but I decided it would be a pen and paper only game. I wasn’t interested in journaling during the game and the Royals have once again not give us much to be grateful for this season, so instead I decided I would learn how to score the game.

This is new to me. When my boys played little league I helped coach and I love to watch baseball. I just never had anyone teach me how to score a game. (And I was always a bit embarrassed about this when I was asked to help out at their games. Run the scoreboard? Sure. Score the game? Sorry, I don’t know how to do that.)

We arrived just before first pitch and I got the lineup info entered. Then I realized I had no idea what to do next. I asked the folks around me if they knew how to keep score, but no one did.

Luckily the internet saved me. The Art of Manliness, one of my favorite blogs, had a great article on scoring a game with pencil and paper. By the bottom of the 2nd inning I was in the groove!

It turns out watching baseball while keeping score is much more exciting than just watching. There’s so much more context! The ballpark also has a lot of little helps, hidden in plain sight, to help people keeping score. Not sure if that double play in the 4th inning was a 6-4-3 or a 4-6-3? Wait for the batter to come back up and the right score will be on the big screen.

Subtracting my phone from the game made it so much better. Adding in the great tradition of scoring by hand made the game come alive. Analog for the win again!

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Be Audacious

Holding back is an easy thing to do. There are times when it’s smart to hold back, watch a situation unfold, and be conservative in your approach. That’s an important skill to develop, but I think the opposite skill is just as important and much harder to learn.

Here’s an example from a member of my team. He has a background in sales and moved into directing our partnership efforts. This was new territory for us; I didn’t have much background in this and he didn’t either. He started small by contacting sites that we had previous affiliate relationships with. Within a month, however, he was closing contracts with sites that have millions of monthly views and built an impressive portfolio of partnerships. It was an amazing piece of work and far outside what I thought was possible.

There’s a time to be audacious.

One of the best examples of this is how Richard Branson got started in the airline business. He was among a group of passengers stranded at a small airport on the way to Puerto Rico because of a canceled flight. He had the idea to charter a plane, and divided the cost of the charter among the stranded passengers. They gladly paid $39 to continue on their trip, and the groundwork for Virgin Atlantic was started.

Looking back it seems like a perfectly reasonable thing to do, and that’s part of the beauty of bold action. In the moment it can feel gut wrenching, terrifying, and incredibly risky. By practicing being audacious in small things, we become prepared to be audacious in big things.

Audacity can be learned. Boldness can become a habit.

Start small by taking actions outside your bubble of comfort. Compliment someone who did great work even if it feels threatening to do so. Think of a strategy that could be huge even if it sounds a bit crazy at first. Develop your taste for bold action. Make a habit of looking for the bigger play or the key move in a larger course of action.

And most important, when the moment for action comes be audacious.

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