A lot of times I don't pay much attention to sports. It took me 3 years of college at UCLA to figure out that the big building that often had huge crowd out front getting in my way when I was late to rehearsal was Pauley Pavilion (for the non-sports minded, some amazing college basketball has happened there). True. Story.
However, given the amount of baseball I've been watching in the past week or so, I've been thinking about acting, auditions and stepping up to the plate.
The more sports minded can skip the next bit and tune back in in about a paragraph or so. Cause I'm going to explain what I know about batting average. Batting average in baseball is calculated as the number of times a player hits a ball divided by the number of times he is up at bat. Excellent batting averages are anything above .300. A batting average above .400 is next to impossible, over a lifetime. Occasionally someone goes above .400 for a season, but it's pretty rare.
What these numbers mean: an excellent hitter in baseball connects 3 times out of every 10 times at bat. Or, an excellent hitter in baseball doesn't connect 7 out of every 10 times at bat. Professional people, who get paid insane amounts of money to hit a ball with a stick only manage to execute that part of their job 30% of the time!
What these numbers tell me is that what these guys get paid to do isn't actually to hit balls with sticks. Rather, their job is to be ready, should all the other circumstances line up, to hit a ball with a stick. And ready means they prepare mentally and physically prior to the event, they learn about the people who are going to challenge their ability to hit a ball with a stick and anticipate what might happen, and to ultimately, when the time comes and they are called to the plate, they get out of their own way mentally and allow their bodies to do what they've prepped for, and still 70% of the time, they won't actually hit the ball.
It's amazing each time I watch the intense level of commitment and concentration of a batter at the plate. How all the training & preparation lives in that moment, how so much is out of their control, yet they know what they have control over.
Little acting lessons. Each time.