I got to witness something beautiful last week.
Matt Cain, the ace of the San Francisco Giants pitching staff, threw a perfect game against the Houston Astros. It was magnificent.
He became the first pitcher in the Giants franchise to throw 27 outs in a row. It was just brilliant to behold, especially for someone like me who is a huge Giants fan. During the game I had gotten a text from a friend asking if I was watching. I didn’t respond to it, though, because I didn’t want to jinx it. After the game was over, my uncle texted me from Georgia to say, “Matty has to be this good because Tim is stinking it up this season.”
“Tim” is in reference to Tim Lincecum. Isn’t it amazing how a guy can go from stud to dud over the course of an offseason? I’m sure he’s worked hard in between seasons, but I think it goes back to something Matt Forte said last week.
Forte, who graduated from Slidell High School and now plays for the Chicago Bears, said, “You can’t ever stop being hungry.” He added that while you might have a good game one week, you can’t ever think that’s good enough. The only way to make it in the sports world as a professional is to keep being better than the rest.
I’m not trying to say that Lincecum has slacked off; I’m just trying to say you can’t ever think you’ve made it. That mindset will only make you worse. Cain is a perfect example of never being egotistical. He’s someone who has just continued to work and get better. Now he’s one of only 22 pitchers who have tossed a perfect game in the Major Leagues. He’s also the only pitcher to have done so with his team scoring 10 runs. It takes a lot of focus being up that many runs.
If you want to reach perfection, whether it’s in life or sports, stay focused and never think you’re good enough. There’s always room for improvement if you can stay focused. And maybe watch Cain’s perfect game. It’s inspiring.
(Chrissy Smith is Sports Editor of the Slidell Independent, and a former college athlete. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)