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Here’s the sports metaphor of the week.

This weekend, Daniel Nava, called up by the Boston Red Sox from the minor leagues to play left field, did something that only one other person before him had done.

On his first at-bat, on the very first pitch, Nava hit a grand slam home run.

According to the Boston Globe, “Nava is just the second player to hit a grand slam in his first at-bat with the Red Sox and the second in major league history to hit a slam on his first pitch, joining Kevin Kouzmanoff, who did it for the Indians in 2006.”

But the story gets better. Again, from the Globe:

“What made Daniel Nava’s arrival special was the path he took, which over the last five years was markedly different than most prospects. Nava was a walk-on at the University of Santa Clara, and was soon cut. To stay with the team, Nava became the equipment manager, which meant doing the team’s laundry at 3 a.m. ... Nava thought about becoming a coach or a scout, but instead transferred to College of San Mateo, a junior college, for two years. He returned to Santa Clara for his senior year, but was not selected in the 2006 draft.

“He landed with the Chico Outlaws of the independent Golden Baseball League. There he produced to the point where Baseball America named him the top prospect in independent baseball, which led the Sox to sign him in 2008 for $1.”

That’s right. One dollar.

And, even better, the Globe reports:

“Nava had received a tip from radio broadcaster Joe Castiglione during an interview for the pregame show. Castiglione sat Nava down in the clubhouse and shared a story he learned from Chuck Tanner of the Milwaukee Braves, who hit a home run in his first career at-bat on April 12, 1955.

“His message: ‘Swing at the first pitch,’ Castiglione said, ‘because you’ll never get it back’.”
KC's View:
Beyond the obvious metaphor about perseverance and passion being critical to being successful in any endeavor, that notion of swinging at the first pitch “because you’ll never get it back” is a wonderful life lesson.

Opportunities only come around so-often. Often they are disguised as tremendous challenges, and often we don;t move on them because there may be another opportunity, another chance, a better option.

In life and business, we gotta swing. Sometimes you get a single, sometimes you miss the ball completely, and sometimes you hit a foul ball. But sometimes you hit a grand slam.