Baseball is a very simple game. As has been said so often, you throw the ball, you hit the ball, you catch the ball. That’s pretty much it. Except for the head work, of course. Anyone who has ever played the game can tell you, you’ve got to get your head in the game if you want to win.
Regardless of which position you fill on the field, there are two questions every baseball player needs to be asking themselves as the pitcher goes into his windup: What will I do if the ball is hit to me? And what will I do if the ball isn’t hit to me?
Those two simple, concise, critical questions are the key to success in baseball. There are only two possibilities as the batter takes his swing. The ball will either come to you or it won’t. In either case the best players know exactly what to do, even before the opportunity to do it presents itself.
That’s true for much of life, really. It’s certainly true for aviation advocates, whether they’re pros or still maintain amateur status. The question rings in our heads, what am I going to do to turn this situation into a win? What are my options? Which is most appropriate for the circumstances?
When the outfielder sees the ball sailing in his direction, his thought process is simple. Catch the ball and know where to throw it. Catching the ball isn’t necessarily all that helpful if he throws to it to the wrong player, or holds it too long while debating his options. Similarly, if he sees the ball on a path to another player, he has to know what his responsibility is. Who is he supposed to back-up?
There are few moments when a baseball player can reasonably expect to relax while the ball is still in play. That’s true for aviation fans, too. If you want to make progress, you have to work for it. And that work isn’t always done when the spotlight is on you. In truth, most of your best work is going to be done in the background, out of the limelight, when most people think nothing is going on. Back up player is central to the win.
Let’s consider a practical example. Let’s say you’re trying to get a fly-in scheduled at your home field, while another member of your pilot’s association is working on getting the hangar rents reduced. Both are worthy goals. You can work independently of each other, or you can team up. The odds are good that teaming up gives you an advantage, so you do. Just like a center fielder who backs up his pitcher, you take on the role of gathering information that can help your friend in his quest to lower your rent. Similarly, he begins to lend support to your effort to get the fly-in happening.
Both of you have a primary goal, an issue you’re working on that you hope to be victorious with. But you both see an opportunity to lend some of your time, experience, insight, and effort to the other. So you do.
That’s teamwork. That’s how coalitions are built. It’s where movements find their first toe-hold and begin to build a following.
Your team may be in its infancy. But over time it will grow, strengthen, and become a powerful asset to your community. That fly-in just might come into being with the support and assistance of your new-found teammates. You and your peers may find your mutual efforts bring you the benefit of lower hangar rents, and because of that price cut, higher occupancy rates, too. All sorts of good things can happen when you convert a bunch of independent players into a cohesive team that works together for the common good.
Give it a try. Whether you’re the star player, an alternate, or the guy who sweeps out the clubhouse, you’ve got a part to play in the next GA success your airport experiences. So pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and get out there on the field of play. The rest of us are counting on you every bit as much as you’re counting on us.
Jamie Beckett is a CFI and A&P mechanic who stepped into the political arena in an effort to promote and protect GA at his local airport. You can reach him at Jamie@GeneralAviationNews.com.