Yeah, it’s been a long time since I have written a blog. You may be wondering why I choose today to start back into it. Well I blame someone my wife knows somewhat well and I probably only have shaken his hand. His name is Derek Glanvill. I have been slowly reading Mike Matheny’s book ‘The Matheny Manifesto’ and the quote on page 136 from one of Mr. Matheny’s friends is from Mr. Glanvill. ‘The right thing is seldom the easy thing.’ Mike calls Derek and his wife Penny two of his closest friends. Derek’s son Sean passed away this past November at the age of 20 due to a brain injury that followed a 2007 car accident he was involved in. Mike watched Sean’s toughness as he fought and survived long after doctors only gave him a one percent chance to live. Sean is one of the main reasons Mike Matheny now wears the number 26.
Let’s just say that reminding myself that the right thing is seldom the easy thing was something that I tried to do this past summer while I was helping coach my son’s baseball team. I played a minor role in coaching. I was a batting practice pitcher and first base coach. But I had another ‘role’ that I enjoyed. One of the other coaches, Greg Viehman labeled me as ‘Dr. Phil’. I guess this was because I was willing to talk to the kids and figure out what they were thinking in as much as they would tell me. I couldn’t do this for every player but there were more than a few that would talk to me and liked the fact I treated them just like another person. It wasn’t always easy.
My job on the team was not to argue with the umpires, that was head coach Bill Becher’s job and he did it well when needed. Every time I went out to a game I would introduce myself to the umpires and shake their hand. Many times I would have delightful conversations with them during the game while I was in the first base coaching box or the dugout. Umpires are in fact humans. They are not perfect and they know they make mistakes. If one tells you they don’t, they are not truthful to themselves. I enjoyed being nice to everyone. I also often chatted with the opposing team’s first basemen.
Players on a baseball team get mad. One of my ‘unofficial’ roles was to try to calm them down. I joked with one particular player that they can yell, and get mad at me all they want but they need to respect the game enough not to get themselves get kicked out. I would do whatever I could to get in between them and violence with an opposing player, manager or even an umpire. The players were more valuable to the game then I was. My thought was that I wasn’t doing the easy things; I was doing the right things.
I had fun this summer helping out my son’s team. I enjoyed being part of American National Varsity baseball. I was more proud of those young men than they will ever know. I watched them win a tournament, play teams with players as old as 28, and even become all-stars. There was a young man who was primarily a pitcher but even received an all-star selection as a Designated Hitter despite hurting his shoulder during the season. I was especially proud to watch my son pitch in a couple of games that made the local paper’s attention and he made the all-star team as a pitcher and was the only player from the class of 2017 on the team.
I am thankful today for the chance to remind myself that doing the right thing does pay off in the end. So I thank Derek, Mike, Sean, Bill, Greg, R.J., Matt, Mitchell, and especially Josh amongst others who remind me that I still have things to say when I write and that I will always continue to strive to do the right thing.
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