Anticipation – For Love of the Game

Long after the crowd leaves, the sense of anticipation remains.

Just hours before the crowd watching the last ever baseball game by Detroit Tigers aging pitcher, Billy Chapel, against the New York Yankees were given an unexpected treat as Chapel pitched towards a “perfect game”. A perfect game is where no batter has a base hit, where pitchers don’t allow any batters to make a base. The crowd were all on the edge of their seats as Chapel edged towards their feat, providing an unexpected backdrop to an end of season game with the only appeal being the Yankees having a shot at clinching the East division title with a win.

“For Love of the Game”, a 1999 movie starring Kevin Costner highlights the power of anticipation. As the game moves towards it’s inevitable climax, the anticipation of the crowd, the players, people viewing at bars and airports, was highlighted. At that moments in time nothing else mattered. Energy was applied only to the sole focus of the result and of Costners’s character, Chapel pitching the perfect game.

This showcases the power of anticipation.


Robert Sapolsky, in a series of experiments, has determined the power of anticipation. His studies indicate that dopamine is released in anticipation of a reward. And that dopamine can be sustained for a length of time as we work towards a reward or result. He also shows, that the actual level of dopamine released when the reward is presented is much less than the spikes we achieve in anticipatory response.

In summarising the results from the experiments, he concludes that anticipatory response determines behaviour and action and as humans we can sustain the dopamine release for sustained periods of time. It is suggested that this stands as time immortal for us as some strive to achieve the perfect after life as determined by their own spiritual beliefs.

Why is This Important?

As we see in “Love of the Game”  anticipation created focus and concentrated energy into the results of the game. It explains much of our own human nature.

  • It explains the person who purchases their season or Superbowl tickets 12 months in advance, yet always forgets their partners birthday.
  • It supports the rise of online retail as the pleasure of anticipation for consumers as we await the delivery of our purchased goods.
  • It explains why people have specific beliefs and behaviours spiritually as they work towards whatever afterlife is promised.
  • It explains why some people work slavishly on a goal process to a determined outcome.
  • It explains why most people won’t work slavisly towards their goals.

Watching, Waiting or Working

The power of anticipation links back to what we see as important in our lives. The reality is that for most people, anticipation is wasted as we either watch (like the movie) or wait in anticipation. Only a relatively small percentage harness the power of anticipation in a positive process to work towards something of meaning and importance to themselves.

In coming posts, we will be exploring the power of anticipation and provide examples of harnessing the powere to create an improved life for you.

This is the first in a series of posts, exploring the power of anticipation and how people can benefit and influence this to better their lives.


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