Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A Complicated Thing...

I'm sitting here with a baseball in front of me...staring at me like the volleyball in Castaway. In just a few minutes, I'll be speaking to the staff at work about being a team...the importance of preparation, performance...and the biggest one of all...being able to place your trust in something or someone other than yourself.  It's not easy.

So I'm about to talk about what I know...baseball.   I'll be invoking the 1998 New York Yankees and what that team accomplished and the adversity some of its members faced.   I'll hold the baseball and hope they get the metaphor of a pitcher letting the ball go and trusting the team behind him.  In spite of all your training and preparation, you've still got to let the ball go and trust the team behind you.  Such is life.  We'll see how this goes.  Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.  Sometimes you never know with people.  Trust is a complicated thing.

There's a Maya Angelo quote that says, "when people show you who they are, believe them the first time."  I've always loved that.  I've got a ton of acquaintances, but only a handful of people I consider friends.  The trust that I'll talk about to the staff is a big reason why.  If you're my friend, I will trust you with ME.  I'll be honest and vulnerable and fun and you will know ME.  THAT is me trusting YOU.  That rarely happens in a work environment...but here I go.  I'm off to be an advocate of the team and the trust we need to have in the people we count on to pull off something bigger than ourselves every day.  Let's see how much they trust me...

Thursday, August 15, 2013

When was the last time...

When was the last time you saw a group of kids playing baseball in the backyard...all by themselves...with no adults in the middle of it all?  I can't remember the last time I saw that.  Actually, the last time I remember it at all was when I was a kid and playing myself.  And that was a long time ago.
Every generation probably says it, but kids today are missing out. Not only are they missing out on the fun, they're missing out on the things that playing together, without an adult, teaches.  It's no wonder young adults today can't settle a conflict, that they don't know how to handle losing...or winning, that they don't understand why someone's not always around to help them or tell them what to do.   Playing baseball, or football, or basketball or soccer with my group of friends taught me a lot of those things.  We called balls and strikes, in bounds and out of bounds, fouls, outs, home runs, ground rules doubles--all of it, all by ourselves. Oh, and we cheered each other on. We encouraged each other.  Of course there were disputes, but if something couldn't be resolved, we had a do-over.  We didn't get mad, take our ball and go home.  I get that very rarely are there do-overs in real life, but you get the point. No one else had to tell us what to do our how to get the game going again.  We picked teams, played hard and when it was all over shook hands...really, even when we were little kids...and went on to the next things. It's sad to me that everyday I see people who need someone to tell them what to do or how to do.  It's sad that we don't play hard and then shake hands when the day is done.  But maybe most of all, it's sad to me that we don't cheer each other on every day.  But maybe it's not hopeless.  Cheer someone on today.  You'll feel good.  They'll feel great.  Maybe our kids will take the cue.

Monday, May 20, 2013

An Open Letter To My High School Friends

The bonds we form as kids are stronger than we probably thought at the time.  Recently, our high school class found out about the deaths of two of our classmates.  Most of us found out via Facebook.

Now say what you want about FB, but because of it, we're connected again...some of us for the first time.  It's sort of amazing to me that even people we barely looked at in high school, we're friends with on Facebook.  We share with, we console, we celebrate.  We comment, we like, we encourage.  No matter where you sat in the mall, we're all the same now....whether you were on the cake, on a bench, in the library or the smoking lounge.  We care about each other now, whether we did back then or not.  You see,we share the common bond of a common experience--even though our perspectives were very, very different.  Seems now we're not that different at all.  Whether we're caring for children or parents, grieving or celebrating...now we care.  I wish we could prove to the class of 2015 that they'd all be friends someday.  Maybe the bullying would stop. Maybe the fighting would stop.  Maybe they'd lift each other up instead of stepping on each other so they could rise to the top.  Maybe what they look like wouldn't matter so much.  Maybe the jocks and the potheads would realize that none of the labels matter in adulthood.

No doubt we all have a close friend or two that we still keep in touch with from those days.  I'm so very fortunate to have one of those...we've gone through LIFE together.  For the rest of my high school class, it's great to have found you again on Facebook.  It's nice to see we've grown up...and somehow we've grown together even though we've been apart.  Keep in touch, keep caring, keep sharing and keep encouraging.  If you didn't know me...or like me then...let's give each other a chance now.  We're finding out now, maybe way too early or way too late, that life is way too short.  North Hunterdon class of 1984:  I really do love you all.