Today was like nothing I have ever been a part of in almost 29 years on this Earth. It wasn't about the elements (25-35 mph winds, gusts up to 50 mph; intermittent rain throughout; outfield fences blowing over; etc. etc.) - both teams had to play in it. It's about TOUGHNESS.
This is something you cannot teach - either your parents gave it to you, or they didn't. In our case, the latter seems true more times than not. One day they look like world-beaters, the next they look like they need a change of underwear. The wind was gusting and there were balls flying out all over the place, but that is no excuse. We had some guys out there who looked afraid. We were playing a team very similar to our own - they can hit pretty well and they can pitch a little bit. We looked like a team that was playing the NY Yankees - we looked over matched.
10 BB, 7 of which scored. 4 BB in a row at one point, followed by a grand slam. After that (3rd inning), it seemed like we were out of it. The final was 23-20 (another thing I have never seen or been a part of) but it took a hell of a lot of energy to get it to that. It looked as if we were afraid of the team we were playing, afraid of the weather, afraid of our hat blowing off, I don't know what it was. But it was ugly. The demeanor on the mound is key to any baseball game - it all starts on the mound. Period. End of story. If you can't dictate how the game is going to go, there is no way the 24 guys surrounding you can figure it out either.
Even if you aren't an outspoken, vocal leader - you need to lead with your actions. Actions speak volumes. Body language speaks volumes. Picking up a teammate after an error speaks volumes. LEAD BY EXAMPLE.
ACT AS IF. A quote from one of my favorite movies, Boiler Room. Today, we didn't. We pitched with our tail between our legs, looking more times than not like they didn't want to be out there. Tomorrow is a new day, that's the good thing. Tomorrow, whoever we run out there to pitch needs to act as if.
There is no substitute for toughness. We have to pitch, play defense, and hit. Today we hit. We could have used a big hit from one of our juniors or seniors, but we didn't get it. We got plenty of hits, but there were times when we needed toughness - a HBP in a big spot, didn't get it; a base-hit with runners on 2nd and 3rd with 2 outs, didn't get it. Little things turn into big things.
Put the TEAM before the ME. Don't be selfish. ACT AS IF!