When it comes to the spending habits of professional athletes, we’re accustomed to hearing about lavish purchases, luxury cars, dream estates, and even pieces of clothing whose price falls in the four-figure plus range.
Shortly after being given a $2 million signing bonus in 2011 by the Toronto Blue Jays, many might have expected that top MLB pitching prospect Daniel Norris would have done the same. But in reality, Daniel has gone in a much different direction.
Having grown up in a family that has always valued the outdoors, Daniel maintains that appreciation and has no intention of letting his financial or expected career success get in the way of it. The one purchase Daniel made shortly after being drafted was a 1978 Volkswagen Westfalia, the microbus that Daniel, by choice, calls home for a portion of the year.
Every professional athlete has their own unique offseason routine, and Daniel’s routine involves him driving, cooking, camping, and surfing – with nothing but the van that he has nicknamed Shaggy by his side.
When asked why he chooses to spend his offseason in such an unconventional manner, Daniel replied:
“I do it to be alone and to find peace within myself. I love my teammates and family but I’m not the kind of person who likes to be around a ton of people. I’m a thinker, I like to be alone with my thoughts. When I’m out there, it’s just me, Shaggy, and God, and I can really connect with myself. It’s very peaceful.”
The fact that Daniel is fully engaged in the world of sports, which prides itself on competition and showmanship, yet is able to see the value in independence and peacefulness is truly inspiring – especially considering the fact that his skill set, at the young age of 21, gives him all the rights needed to boast about potentially being one of the league’s best within a couple of years.
In 2014 alone, Daniel led all qualified minor leaguers in strikeouts per nine innings, made his MLB debut with the Toronto Blue Jays, and was touted by several major MLB analysts as one of the best prospects in the game. Rather than letting this get to his head, Daniel instead remains humble and chooses to search for peace in solitude.
Living Life In The Moment
Best-selling author of both ‘A New Earth’ and ‘The Power of Now’, Eckhart Tolle is famous for teaching about the importance of living in the moment. He encourages readers to find peace in their present thoughts by not dwelling in the past or projecting to the future, which is an understanding that has profoundly changed my perspective on life. Whether intentional or not, it seems as though Daniel’s offseason lifestyle is a perfect example of this ideology.
“I like to explore so sometimes I’ll just stop at the side of the road and look around. There’s no plan involved.”
The idea of life without a plan may seem scary to some, but as Daniel exemplifies it may also be a key to finding inner peace. I’m not suggesting that we all cast aside our day planners – as even Daniel knows when he needs to report to Spring Training and be the professional athlete he loves to be – but I am suggesting that we not be afraid to deviate from what we are accustomed to. I’m a firm believer that the keys to peace and happiness lie within us, we just need to give ourselves the chance to actually be with ourselves.
How Peace Translates To The Playing Field
Although still far too early in his professional career to tell, early signs suggest that Daniel’s offseason decisions may translate onto the playing field as well, and in a positive way. Although never getting the opportunity to play at a level even comparable to that of Daniel, both Joe and I of the CE team have always held a passion for baseball. Through our own first hand experience, we can both attest to the profoundly positive impact that both being at peace and experiencing mindfulness can have when playing sports.
The game just seems to slow down and you are able to disconnect yourself from all of the mind-based assessments of the sport, instead focusing on of the art of playing it. I believe professional basketball player Lebron James exemplifies this well.
Lebron’s skill set is certainly beyond recognition, but there is something else to say about his generally calm demeanour as he plays the game of basketball. It’s as if the naturally fast-paced game of basketball occurs in slow motion from his perspective, making him capable of scoring, passing, and rebounding with ease even amongst the world’s best.
Lebron may not be known for taking personal road trips in a microbus, but he is known for regularly practicing meditation – another widely recognized tool which can help with connecting with the self and finding peace. Lebron’s most famous meditation experience occurred during the 2012 NBA Playoffs when he used a timeout to individually refocus. (Watch it HERE)
As a fan of baseball, and especially the Toronto Blue Jays, I’ve always had the intention of monitoring the career and progress of Daniel Norris, and I now find myself even more compelled to. What are your thoughts on Daniel’s offseason lifestyle? Do you feel that peace and mindfulness can have an impact on not only sports but your life in general? Let us know via the comments section below.
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