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John Moeller speaks on lessons learned through baseball

Emeritus+Professor+of+Political+Science+John+Moeller+presented+the+30th+Emeriti+Lecture+Thursday%2C+Nov.+8.+
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John Moeller speaks on lessons learned through baseball

Emeritus Professor of Political Science John Moeller presented the 30th Emeriti Lecture Thursday, Nov. 8.

Emeritus Professor of Political Science John Moeller presented the 30th Emeriti Lecture Thursday, Nov. 8.

Emily Kidwell (‘22) | Chips

Emeritus Professor of Political Science John Moeller presented the 30th Emeriti Lecture Thursday, Nov. 8.

Emily Kidwell (‘22) | Chips

Emily Kidwell (‘22) | Chips

Emeritus Professor of Political Science John Moeller presented the 30th Emeriti Lecture Thursday, Nov. 8.

Emily Kidwell, Staff Writer

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Emeritus Professor of Political Science John Moeller gave an Emeriti Lecture titled “All I Really Need to Know I Learned Through Baseball” on Thursday, Nov. 8 in the Mott Room of the Dahl Centennial Union. He discussed how baseball has influenced his viewpoint on life and political philosophy.

Moeller is a long-time baseball fan, so when he was invited to speak, he decided to base his lecture on this topic.

“I knew there was going to be an election around now, and I didn’t know if I was capable of analyzing it accurately or fairly, so I decided to talk about something I knew a little bit about, and that’s baseball,” Moeller said in an interview before the lecture.

Moeller first developed an interest in the sport after receiving a baseball signed by former shortstop and first baseman for the Chicago Cubs, Ernie Banks.

In his lecture, Moeller broke down what he learned through baseball: the need for heroes, the search for perfection, the importance of passion, and the value of hard work and talent, as well as the role of play, stories, and faith in our lives.

The first lesson Moeller discussed was how people have a natural instinct to search for heroes and strive for perfection. According to Moeller’s analogy, people are looking for the fastest pitcher and the best batter.

“Achievements of a full season have a certain overall majesty,” Moeller said. “They demand unfailing consistency every single day … you are not allowed a single day of subpar work or even a day of bad luck. I, and probably most other little kids at that point in time, were drawn to this game of baseball [because of] the need for heroes.”

Moeller also explored things out of a person’s control, such as picking a favorite baseball team or socioeconomic status. These often happen because of a person’s family, location, and resources.

“These are essentially involuntary organizations into which we find ourselves,” Moeller said. “Michael Walzer, the great political theorist … says that the ideal picture of autonomous individuals choosing their connections and disconnections is far from reality.”

Emeritus Professor of Biology James Eckblad is the coordinator of the Emeriti Lecture series. According to Eckblad, these lectures provide opportunities for emeriti to share current interests and stay connected with each other and the Luther community. Eckblad enjoyed Moeller’s creative topic and the life lessons that he shared.

“He did a nice job in describing his long passion for baseball, as well as his focus on lessons to be learned from this game,” Eckblad said. “A former Luther basketball coach who attended indicated she could probably do a similar presentation about all [she]needed to know [she] learned from basketball.”

Baseball player Trent Athmann (‘19) was interested in the lecture because he thought that connecting baseball with real life lessons and political philosophy was a unique lecture approach.

“I thought [Moeller] brought different aspects that you might not think of as much about stuff that you can learn from a game and apply from real life,” Athmann said.

Iowa State University Professor Emeritus Jim Iversen and Adjunct Faculty in Math Philip Iversen will give the next Emeriti Lecture titled “The Science and Measurement of Climate Change” on Dec. 13.

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