Hall of Fame Baseball Manager Joe McCarthy (who managed the New York Yankees from 1931-1946) had a “Ten Commandments of Baseball” that I recently saw posted somewhere. Commandment #7 was: “Always Run Them Out. You Can Never Tell.” Sound baseball advice: you don’t have to watch too many baseball games to know that you never can tell when an off-the-mark throw from an infielder or a funny bounce of the ball on the infield will allow a runner to be safe at first base on what looked like an easy ground ball.
It is also sound advice off the ballfield. We are sometimes tempted to give up too easily when things don’t go smoothly. We anticipate failure and give up the effort. The task seems impossible so we stop trying. This temptation arises as easily in our spiritual journey as it does in other aspects of our lives; sometimes it just seems impossibly difficult. (Think of the many disciples who went home shaking their heads, deciding that following Jesus was just too hard.)
Yet, we also know that in any number of situations if we keep at it, if we give it our all, we can make headway, even in situations where we didn’t think it would be possible.
I heard a different version of McCarthy’s commandment at a graduation talk one year. The speaker’s advice to the graduations was to remember this: If you think you can, you may be right. if you think you can’t, you will almost certainly be right.
Always run them out. You can never tell.