Home Run Delegation Part 1

cartoon of bal player running the bases

This is a true story..

 I grew up in Skokie, Illinois, the “World’s Largest Village” they had on their signs. 

 We were 15 minutes from downtown Chicago and I grew up with the major passions in my early life – the Chicago Cubs and Baseball.

I played whenever I could, with friends, alone, or even with my poor white German Shepherd, who had no idea why I insisted he was the catcher blocking the home plate, and I had to barrel him over to score the run.

We played on the streets, in the fields, and even in the basement of our houses. We played with hard major league balls and would sometimes smash them into our neighbors’ steel cars, or provide them with instant air circulation by removing the glass from their windows with a well-placed shot.

 We were wild but undisciplined. 

 When I tried out for my first properly organised baseball team, I could hit the ball harder than any of my classmates – but I also swung and missed more often.

 I ended up being cut in the final round. 

 I ended up meeting someone who I consider one of the best mentors I ever had in my life.

 Coach Shane..

 He reached out to me and asked if I would like to properly learn the game.  To be his “manager”, attend every practice and game, and learn the fundamentals properly.

 I did so and started as the humble ball boy – for lack of better term.

 However, after my last class and before practice, Coach Shane would take me personally to the field and teach me one on one how to properly hit the ball. 

 To this day, nearly 40 years later, I remember the correct posture he taught me that soon had me hitting the ball both further and more consistently.

 Within weeks he promoted me from “manager” to full team member.

 Finally, he penciled me into the lineup as the Designated Hitter (my fielding still had something to be desired). 

 When I came up to bat for the first time, I heard an opposing player shout out “hey that’s the manager” and the outfielders moved closer to the field.

 On the 2nd pitch, I took what looked like a watermelon and crushed it.  As I ran around the bases, I saw pure panic as their players scrambled to retrieve the ball which sailed far over their heads.

 Rounding 2nd base, I threw my helmet off my head and to this day remember the freedom I felt racing those bases. I approached 3rd base and coach Shane was frantically waving his arm to send me home.

 I slid safe and sound into home and a mob of my teammates piled on to me.

 My first official bat was a home run. 

 And all the credit went to Coach Shane who mentored me on the fundamentals and turned me into a ball player.

 So why is this relevant?.. that I’ll discuss in the next post…

 But ask yourself, do you develop ball players or ball boys in your company?