Sunday, May 07, 2006

Sunday Morning, 8am.

Took my kids to work on their baseball skills this morning.

At 8am, it was fielding grounders, and coming up ready to throw.

Basically, getting their bodies in front of the ball.

It's funny, teaching 5 yr old the basics of sports.

"Bend your knees, get your hands down, keep your body IN FRONT of the ball..."
I saw my daughters this morning, really trying, and paying attention , as well as listening to what I was saying....I saw it in their EYES. (not a simple task for a 5 yr. old)

I asked them both, after about 25 minutes, in the chilly 8:30am breeze of a Sunday in May...

"Are you girls having fun?"

My eldest replied, "Are you?"

"Of course, I'm having fun -- I want you to be a great player, and really understand all the skills of the game -- and have fun."

My youngest replied, "Dad, I want to be good and stuff, but I'm cold -- can we go home, and play on the computer for a while, and THEN COME BACK?"

5 year old twins are smart. I've found much smarter than me.

Walking in the house, I tried to recall all of the endless hours I spent, throwing the balls against the "strikezone" of my garage. The countless times, I played baseball in my imagination, on my driveway -- "PRETENDING" -- to be Mike Schmidt, Willie Stargell, or Pete Rose....

The aspect of this train of thought directed me to one place....

All of my coaches, I had throughout the years.

I pride myself on being a good athlete. I have competed on many levels....and excelled that 3 sports. Baseball, Football and Basketball.

At 7 years old, I was lucky enough to have a coach named "Mr. Lewis."

Mr. Lewis got directly off the bus from his commute in NYC at 4pm, and came in his suit and tie, DIRECTLY to practice.

He arrived at the field, lifted the 2 bags filled with equipment over his shoulder, and walked to the field. He treked from the parking lot, to the baseball diamond in his white shirt, dress shoes...with kids all around him talking about what were were going to focus on that day. What HE WAS GOING to have the kids concentrate on.

It never occured to him to change his clothes. Not sure why, and we never asked him. It seemed normal at 7 years old, to have a coach in a suit.

He proceed until about 6:15 - 6:30 to throw batting practice, hit pop ups, and have us field grounders --- he worked with the kids, on the basics and fundamentals.

His son went on to become a Olympic gold medal winner. A wrestler. Not surprising that Mr. Lewis own child WON multiple gold medals.

Many of the players (like me) that were lucky enough to have him as a Little League Coach -- grew up with a DEEP understanding of, "working on the basics."

Fast forward to my first job on the corporate world.

I took a position with a Insurance Company in Meriden, CT in sales. 100% commission, no base salary, and no safety net.

My Sales Manager was named, "Ms. C." (I don't want to reveal names here for obvous reasons)

Ms. C was a divorced mother of 4, a single parent -- with kids ranging in age from, 4 to 11 years old.

This lady, taught me about the basics of sales. She taught me about planning, activity, and HOW to place yourself in a position, to be --- or at least have a higher probability, of being the TOPS, in Sales.

She was disciplined, and took me under her wing.

It was not the corporate excellence that impressed me, or had as much of a impact on me --- it was HOW SHE HANDLED HER PERSONAL LIFE.

4 kids, day care, school, and multi-tasking. Yet, here I was a kid, and she took the time to help GROOM me, and instill habits that I still have.

Coaches are important, and a good coach stays with you FOREVER.

Mr. Lewis, and Ms. C both had a critical impact on my life, decades after I was lucky enough to cross paths with them.

I hope my children, in their walk through life, find their own Mr. Lewis, or Ms. C - because I'm aware of how important and valuable good coaches sports and business.

Coaching and Sunday morning....

Make a impact, or thank someone who has.

I just did.


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