Yesterday, baseball history was marked when the Phillies’ Eric Bruntlett recorded the rarest play in the game–the unassisted triple play. If you think about it, there is a bit of a life lesson in this.
The unassisted triple play is the only event in baseball that is more rare than a perfect game. But afficionados of the sport aren’t, or should not be, as impressed with Bruntlett’s accomplisment as they would be with a perfect game. The unassisted triple play is as much about circumstance than anything else, while the perfect game is much more about the player’s performance.
Too often in life we honor, or give fame to, those who have happened into a particular circumstance. Victims of a natural disaster or an accident, or even of crime usually just happened to be at the location that gave them their notoriety. In contrast, others who gain notoriety (and too often some who do not, but deserve that notoriety) have made extraordinary efforts in their field. [And this even ignores those who cheated in making their efforts–but that is perhaps another post.]
What perplexes me is that our society seems unable at times to distinguish between these two–between those who have benefitted mostly from circumstance, and those who have made extraordinary efforts.
We are wise to make a better distinction between the two.