Ryan Howard is a baseball powerhouse. He’s led the majors in things like slugging and home runs, and is known as a Big Bat, for good reason. If you’re not a Philly fan, you probably just feel a little uncomfortable when he’s up against your team. If you’re a Philly fan, there’s a different dynamic entirely. We know him better. We know the dark side of all of those hits.

You see, when you lead in things like slugging, you also tend to lead in strike outs. Swinging the bat a lot means missing a whole lot. Hardly anyone thinks of Howard in those terms, just like hardly anyone thinks of Janos Starker in terms of how many times he’s wrecked the double stops in the Kodaly sonata. But you know it’s happened. Because when you play a lot, you screw up a lot. And if you’re not screwing up, it means you’re not practicing anything that is improving your playing.

So for you, my dear student, who collapsed in tears after a craptacular run through yesterday, know this:

You are capable of more. And on the way to that place, you are going to fail in more ways than you can imagine. Be proud of your strike outs, though. It means you’re in the game.

Here’s a list of strike out leaders. Not like we’d recognize any of those names, eh?