It was 1979 in Northeast Philly and I was a 12 year-old kid playing competitive travel-league baseball across the city.
I was a short-and-skinny but talented-and-feisty baseball player. I was on the team pictured here. One of the coaches on this team said “don’t swing until after the first called strike”. I was told to keep the bat on my shoulder. “At your size, you’re tough to pitch to; you’ll get walked.”
I listened to this command for the first few games, then I said the heck with it. I was a good hitter and a smart hitter. I knew the strike zone and how to work the count and there was no way I was going to purposefully put myself at a disadvantage.
After those first few games, when I saw a strike I swung, regardless of the coach’s commands. Of course, I caught his ire then and for the balance of the season but he stayed muted because I hit for average and got on-base when needed.
Some of lessons I’ve learned looking back, and that I share with others:
- Don’t listen to someone who tells you to bide your time.
- Don’t listen to someone to tell you to always be cautious to avoid risk.
- Don’t be content to back your way into something good.
- Don’t give someone else the advantage over you.
If life and career, do you want to keep your bat on your shoulder? Nope, not for me. I don’t want to be cheated out of my swings. In life and career, dig into the batter’s box and get your cuts at the plate.