Thursday, November 6, 2014

#UnleashMyCreative

It's been said that pitching is an art. Tom Seaver wrote "The Art of Pitching" and Greg Maddux, for all intents and purposes, took the reigns and came as close to perfecting that art as any of us have ever seen. Growing up in Atlanta, I saw him carve up hitters more consistently than any other pitcher of the last quarter century. It literally was like watching a painter methodically work his way across a canvas. You could see the creativity in all of his pitch combinations and speed changes. His imagination and the execution of that creative mindset baffled hitters for the better part of 20 years, yet very few people would call baseball (even pitching) a creative occupation. In fact, when making analogies to baseball, people most often reference war or racing or some other brute activity. This frustrates me. I like to believe that all people in all endeavors (paid and unpaid) have the ability to be creative...not just the "creative community".

My wife works in a collective studio/office space in Atlanta. She, a letterpress printer and calligrapher, shares space alongside photographers, film directors, bloggers, graphic designers and comedy writers (see Aaron Chewning). The motto of the collective is "Home of Atlanta's Creative Citizen", which makes sense considering all of the people working there would be classified as "creatives"...meaning they all get paid to use their creativity. But sitting in the studio, watching all of them be creative, I found myself thinking about creativity in different spaces. For instance, in a crowded floor of cubicles on the 20someodd floor of a tall building downtown, there are accountants using all of the creativity God blessed them with to figure out my taxes (which must be filed in 17 states for 2014...what!?). Down the road from there, a firefighter might be looking at a mangled car imagining all the possibilities to get a young girl out safely. At my favorite restaurant spot, there is an amazing chef who everyone would agree is part of the "creative community", but the real creativity lies in the gluten-free/dairy-free/soy-free suggestions that my waitress keeps whipping up out of thin air.

I believe that, all too often, people are either encouraged or discouraged from exercising their natural creativity based on the job expected of them. Interior designers are expected to imagine a room, brainstorm about its Feng Shui and create it, while mechanics are expected to rotate the tires, change the oil and get it finished quickly. On the surface, those seem like fair descriptions of their jobs, but when you dig a little deeper, both have their creative side and their transactional (get stuff done) side. The mechanic has to use his imagination and creativity to troubleshoot that weird sound my car makes when I turn the wheel to the left, and the interior designer has to drudge through a few days of sewing pillows and hanging curtain rods. At times both share residence in the "creative community" and at other times, neither do.

Baseball is no exception. I truly believe that baseball players can be as creative as anybody in any other profession. Their duty in the game might not always call for the most creativity or ingenuity, but seeing a 9 hole catcher with cement in his shoes lay down a perfect drag bunt for a base hit...that is as creative to me as my wife's perfect calligraphy. Perhaps I am a bit biased towards the creative. My brothers are graphic designers, musicians and film majors, while my sister is a singer/songwriter living in Nashville. Being the "dumb jock" of the family, I made it a point to exercise my creativity in any and all outlets at my disposal. I began to write at an early age and picked up guitar, saxophone, clarinet and drums along the way. Just because I was good at baseball didn't mean that I would allow myself to sell out to the game at the expense of my other talents and attributes. At this point in my life, writing is my creative outlet, but I'm also experimenting with other creative endeavors. I'm learning how to cook (mostly gluten-free & paleo) and cultivate a garden (my succulent collection is getting pretty impressive). I'm also toying around with the idea of different iphone photography projects and the long term goal of possibly writing a book. Some old-school people might say that doing all of these things might hinder my baseball playing. That a ballplayer should play ball and not clutter his mind with frivolous activities that don't affect the game. My official opinion, however, is that all of my creative outlets do affect the game. Every time I practice thinking outside the box, every time I strum a guitar, plant a flower or sit at a keyboard and contemplate how to express what's brewing inside my mind, It prepares me to execute well on the mound.

It's the 8th inning of a one run game. We have the lead and they have 3, 4, 5 coming up in the lineup. I've already faced them three times that day and dozens of times over the course of a season. There is a way to get them out, there always is, but it's up to my imagination to figure out what the answer is on that given day. I've practiced my fastball, curveball, cutter and changeup thousands of times, but how often have I flexed the creative muscle required to attack these hitters on this day? I believe in living a holistic lifestyle where work, food, creativity, faith and leisure are all interconnected. If everyday I can work on all of these things, then when that moment comes I won't have to worry about being prepared. Simply living my life and cultivating all of the talents/passions that have been entrusted to me will prepare me to succeed. I refuse to be a dumb jock. Life (baseball life, particularly) is too short to pigeon-hole myself into what a stereotypical ballplayer has evolved into. It doesn't matter what you do for work or play, YOU ARE CREATIVE. Let's flex our creative muscle and see what we happens!

I will be starting a series on Instagram (@cmchugh) using the hashtag #UnleashMyCreative. Whenever you use/see creativity in places/people that aren't stereotypically "creative" take a picture of it, write a caption and hashtag #UnleashMyCreative. It's all around us, everywhere we look. Go out, be brave, be creative.




3 comments:

  1. Hey Collin. I just wanted to know that you really are a class act, I love this blog and your approach to baseball. I'm hoping to see you pitch next year when the Astros visit Baltimore. I can't think of anything else that has summarized the unseen creativity in the world as well as your blog post. You are a fantastic writer. I don't mean to stroke your ego, but I just wanted to let you know that I and many others really appreciate these posts and are excited to be able to route for such a classy player. Enjoy the offseason and Merry Christmas!

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  2. التنظيف من الخدمات المميزة التى تقدمها شركة بسمة الرياض فهناك عدد من الشركات المتواجدة فى الاسواق والتى تساعد فى القيام باعمال التنظيف على اعلى مستوى فاذا كنت تعانى من خدمات التنظيف التقليدى وتعانى من وجود الكثير من الاشياء التى تحتاج الى الوقت والجهد والاموال وعلى الرغم من ذلك لا تؤدى الى النتائج الغير مرغوب فيها فلا داعى للقلق من شان كل ذلك فانت الان تمتلك افضل الشركات المميزة فالشركة تعتمد على افضل العمالة المدربة على اعلى مستوى من التميز والتدريب المستمر من اجل انجاز الكثير من المهام المخصصه فى التنظيف والاستعانه بالاجهزة والالات المتواجدة لدينا كل ذلك فى مقابل اقل الاسعار المتواجدة فى الاسواق فاذا كنت فى اى مكان فى الخرج او خارجها فعليك ان تستعم بينا على الفور فى القيام بكل ما تتمناه وتحقق افضل النتائج المميزة.
    تعتبر شركة تنظيف بالخرج من اهم وافضل الشركات المتواجده ى الخرج والتى على اتم استعداد للقيام باعمال التنظيف والاهتمام بكافة الخدمات المنزليه بطريقه حرفيه مميزة فاذا اراد ان تستعن بينا فنحن نقوم باعمال التنظيف فى المواعيد المظبوطة بالاضافة الى القيام بكل الخطوات وتحقيق كل ما تتمناه فى اقل وقت ممكن فلا تتردد فى التواصل معنا .

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