home plate

Born on Third Base

Some people are born on third base and go through life thinking they hit a triple.” — Coach Barry Switzer

Completely Out of Touch

I often marvel at how out of touch I am (and have generally been all of my life) with contemporary culture, and I literally know nothing about sports. If asked to correctly identify what sport each team name on a random list was associated with, I would fail terribly. I read the above quotation and was immediately taken with it, having never heard it before.

This lack of awareness is the curse of being raised in the isolation of the “greenhouse1” the fundamentalists so often brag about. And with that lack of external awareness inevitably comes a tragic lack of internal awareness and understanding as well. Problematic!

Sure, one has to work to successfully get from third base to home plate to score. And that work should be appreciated, celebrated, and admired for what it is. But I’ll tell you what is increasingly causing my bones to grow weary as I get older: those people who are arriving at home plate with the lack of understanding that they were given third base as their start. They seem to think they did all of the work required of those who are swinging their guts out to hit the ball at all.

inside closed containerBack in the Day

Half a lifetime ago I did something at work that was a less-than-wise thing to do. I had just become a school administrator and had a hell of a lot to learn about managing people and people skills generally. I saw the world as comprised of easy binary choices. Referring to the stupid thing I had done without any clue of how stupid it was, a very wise and confident employee many years my senior quietly told me “We must always keep in mind that we are always revealing who we are to everyone around us.”

As I reflected on her comment offered in genuine kindness to a dumb kid doing dumb things, I realized that we are always revealing to ourselves who we are, as well! Certainly I was, and I came to dislike the incomplete binary perspective in which I found myself. Could I not be smart enough and wise enough to anticipate the man I wanted to be before making other stupid mistakes and self-correct to avoid them in the first place? (Too often the answer has been, “No.”) Now that I think back, Wanda planted a seed that was to flourish and cause me to change substantially over the next decade. Thank you, Wanda Andereck. I am crazy grateful to you! Your life blessed many! I was but one.

home plateSocial Media Reveals All

I read too many comments on social media from people who begrudge others even being offered a bat. “They can bring their own damned bat,” as if they had to hand chisel theirs from stone when they were in fact born on third base. I just do not understand why some can not, will not, extend just a little bit of empathy, a little bit of kindness, some recognition and support. Yet, I too once lived most easily among them.

Extend or Defend

Empathy takes nothing away from those who are strong, only makes them stronger. When everything is all said and done, the only person on this planet with whom we truly compete is ourselves. Surely we find extending the simple dignity of kindness easier than justifing and defending our less-worthy choices toward others. In everything we say and do, we are always revealing who we are.

Are you who you want to be today?

  1. to “protect” the tender growing plants