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January 01, 2008

Baseball for the Arabs

Would learning baseball help the Arab world get rid of a harmful aspect of its culture? Ocean Guy seems to think so.

His basic idea is that in baseball you're a successful team if you lose only 40% of your games. You're a successful hitter if you're out only 70% of the time. Failure is built into the game. If you fail, it doesn't mean you're humiliated; you pick yourself up and try again.

He links his own pithy statement from four years back:

If the Arabs could learn that lesson maybe they’d be less inclined to pronounce themselves humiliated at every bad break or whenever something doesn’t go entirely their way. And if they’re not humiliated quite as much… maybe they’d stop exploding themselves.
Ocean Guy's reason for revisiting this matter is that a young Bahraini blogger has posted similar thoughts -- not about baseball but about failure: "It is high time that we [Arabs] disassociate ourselves from old ideals. From this church of stagnation. And push forth with new ideas and embrace failure. Without which no success could ever come forth."

It's actually mildly encouraging to read these sentiments. And after baseball, I think self-mocking comedy should come next.

Bonus: Baseball in Iraq, Sept. 2005