Survival lessons from the World Series

October is definitely my favorite month of the year; cooler temperatures, autumn colors, and another exciting World Series to finish the season of America’s national past time. This year it was the Washington Nationals and Houston Astros who night after night put on an exciting display of talent, mental toughness, hard work, skill, and ultimately good sportsmanship.

More specifically what we witnessed in this world championship was a contest between two groups of 25 individuals, experts in hitting, pitching, catching, throwing, or running the bases; teams that both survived the trials and tribulations of the regular baseball season.

As I watched the Series play out it occurred to me that the lessons taken from this amazing sport can be applied to situations in life including wilderness survival. Survival is about winning, giving it your best; understanding there is no second place.

In this World Series being the best prepared team didn’t necessarily guarantee them a win. Both teams showed up with the necessary talent, skill, and experience yet it was the first World Series where the home team lost all seven games. Professional baseball can be so very unpredictable and that’s part of what makes the game so interesting to watch.

Preparation is not the only key to success. We all know that even star players will struggle at times and make mistakes that may cost the team a run or maybe the Series itself. Dropped balls, strike outs, and errors are all part of the game. In wilderness survival we might sustain an injury or lose an important piece of survival gear but the game still goes on. What really matters is how well we respond, never losing sight of priorities.

To stay focused we must have confidence in our abilities. Nationals left fielder Juan Soto, normally a “hitting machine” struggled during games three, four, and five but he never gave up. Unshakable confidence, knowing that success may be just one play away, enabled Juan to homer in game six. Watching those teams go at it on television we also realize the Series is more than just players hitting, throwing and catching. Playing out just below the surface is a contest of mental toughness. Whether in baseball or in wilderness survival it is no secret that mental toughness enables a person to overcome adversity, disappointment, and failure.

Mother Nature wasn’t actually a factor in this World Series but often in wilderness survival she can throw us a nasty “curve ball.” An unexpected storm can bring pouring rain and plummeting temperatures that are just plain unfair when we’re already trying our hardest to stay alive out there. Manager Dave Martinez got thrown out of game six for arguing a call he thought was unfair and cost a runner. So far, I’m still waiting to win an argument with Mother Nature.

The Series was a great reminder about the importance of team work especially when things are going badly. As Washington star pitcher Steven Strasburg remarked, “We fight for each other…we pick each other up.” In wilderness survival it’s the same way; we need to rely on others for encouragement and help.

Winning baseball requires that every player have their head in the game and to do their part. While an outfielder in baseball is running down a sacrifice fly ball the infielders are already moving into new positions. When the outfielder fires that ball back in a back up is ready if the cut-off man misses the ball. I like having that kind of backup on hand when deciding on survival priorities or what actions to take next.

The Nationals finally won it all, coming from behind in game seven and displaying for the whole nation the value of hard work, perseverance, and what it means to never give up. Congrats to the Nationals who “finished the fight” and came out on top!

Learn more about the wilderness survival game at my website: www.mountaineerwilderness.com. And, don’t forget to sign up for our monthly newsletter packed with schedules of classes and courses, interesting articles and gear reviews, and tips on how to become better prepared. “Play ball!”


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