Thursday, December 1, 2011

Friday, April 25, 2008

Bad Breaks

I was lying in the hospital bed thinking what will happen next. My life, as I knew it, had changed. I wasn’t quite ready to hear what the doctor told me next. “Son,” he said “it looks like you won’t be able to do all the things you used to do, but you will heal over time.” That kind of news is devastating to a 9 year old boy. After all, baseball season was quickly approaching.

I had broken my arm after falling out of a tree. You may be thinking, “You’re being a little dramatic aren’t you? Everyone gets hurt some time or another.” True, but what is interesting about feelings is that they are your own. Your feelings aren’t relative to other people. (That’s not the point of the story anyway.)

I was told that I would not be able to accomplish what I set out to do. Has that ever happened to you? Did you believe it? It seems everyone wants to tell you what you can and can’t do. You have to decide if that’s true.

One evening my father came home from work and he asked me if I really wanted to play baseball. “Of course I do!” I said. “Great!” he said with a smile, “then I have a present for you.” He walked me to the garage and pulled out a brand new Louisville Slugger. “I bought you a new bat.” he said proudly. Then he took out his saw and cut it in half. “If you want to play, you are going to have to work hard and learn all over again. You have to learn to play with one arm.” He told me.

My father spent every evening teaching me to bat with one arm. I was getting really good and I began to gain confidence. “Two weeks until try outs” he said, “It’s time to learn to catch and throw.”

I was ready, but the Little League would not allow me to try out. They said it was too dangerous. This time my father went to bat for me. “He’s been working like crazy just for a chance try out. If he’s not good enough that’s fine, but you have to give him a shot.” Their answer was no.

My Dad would not give up. We went back to the hospital and the doctor built me a special cast and strap to secure my arm. He also wrote a note that said it was not too dangerous. I was finally given a special try out to see if I could actually play baseball with one arm. I made the team that year and even made the starting line-up.

You may one day find yourself facing a crisis and thinking what could possibly happen next. It is too easy to assume it will be bad. Overcoming has its own reward. After all, I am still telling stories about when I was nine. (Did I mention I hit a home run?)



Principal 1: You are the only one who can decide what you can accomplish.

Principal 2: You need support. Surround yourself people who have your best interest in mind.

Principal 3: Hard work alone is not always enough. You will have to fight for what you believe is right.

Friday, April 11, 2008

In Theory

It wasn’t long after I got my driver’s license that I asked my Dad if I could get a motorcycle. He quickly responded, “No!” His response didn’t surprise me – I had been asking for years. He told me it was too dangerous and that I didn’t know how to ride. So, I taught myself. I read books, I talked with friends who rode, and I studied for the driver’s test. I knew all there was to know about motorcycles – in theory.

A few years later, my brother and I traveled Europe. We thought it would be great to rent scooters and drive through the Black Forest in Germany. When we arrived at the rental shop, they were out of scooters, but they did have a motorcycle. My brother turned to me and said, “You know how to ride, right?” “Yes”, I said. So I taught him everything I knew in about 5 minutes. Most people feel that getting rental insurance is a waste of money, but we were smarter than that, we got all the insurance we could buy.

It did not take long to realize that getting insurance was a good thing. I quite literally took a crash course in motorcycle riding technique. I didn’t crash right away; I had learned to ride a bike after all. But eventually my inexperience became quite evident. I inadvertently pulled a wheelie going uphill. As I began to fall backwards my death grip on the handles caused me to increase the throttle. (It was quite an impressive ride, if I had meant it.) I quickly slammed down on the foot break. The front end of the bike crashed to the ground and I was thrown over the handle bars. As I looked back, I saw the motorcycle begin to slide down the mountain.

I’m often asked which I feel is more important, education or experience. (Once again, people are asking the wrong questions.) Education is important, but education is the first step, not the last. I also know that there is one thing that trumps experience – talent. If you’ve chosen who you do business with based on education and experience alone, I’d get insurance.



Principal 1: You will, at some point, encounter something you were not prepared for. That experience will shape you. You will gain from it or it will create fear.

Principal 2: The words “In Theory” are clouded by doubt. Be afraid.

Principal 3: Talent is an intangible. Reward talent. Experience will come.