It’s team picture night, and the fields are crawling with t-ball kids posing for their first baseball photo. The gloves are on the wrong hands, the bats are held like clubs, and the mothers are trying desperately to get their children to smile “just right.”
One group of kids is much more interested with playing on the tire swing than with baseball. A concerned mother calls to her daughter, “Don’t get your socks dirty! You still have the team picture.” Overhearing her concern, I mentioned to her that the dirty socks were kinda the whole point. I reminisced that as a coach of children, I always told my teams that they had to “earn their dirt.”
It’s amazing how quirky little sayings like that stick with you. As I’ve grown older, I’ve learned that many of my old “sayings” are far more than sayings… they are philosophies of life.
Anyone can make sand castles in the infield. Anyone can run through a mud puddle. That’s not how you “earn your dirt.” You earn your dirt by “playing the game.” Effort. Sweat. Your dirt is earned by the headfirst slide into 3rd base; by the diving catch in the outfield; or even by the dirt and sweat that collects on your clean white socks as you run the bases or play the field. It’s hard work; but at the end of the game, the dirt that you earn is a “badge of honor.”
Life is the same way. Don’t just sit on the sidelines playing in the mud. Get in the game! EARN YOUR DIRT. Hard work, sweat, success, failure, challenges, and more. At the end, you may look pretty ragged. You may have dirt caked all over you. That’s a good thing. Wear it proudly.
You’ve earned it.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt