If we live long enough, we all get to experience some kind of major to minor disappointment in life that may look like the derailment of all our hopes and dreams. A number of former employees and ancillary personnel in the Houston Astros organization have been provided with that opportunity over the past year by the new ownership.
I wrote the following to Dave Raymond as a comment upon an article he wrote on his own blog about his current search for a new broadcasting job yesterday, but I’ve decided this morning that it was broad enough in content to stand as a Pecan Park Eagle column on its own right too.
Hope you get something out of it. It certainly won’t hurt you to read it. And please, for your own sake, check out Dave Raymond’s wonderful column, plus the many wonderful things that people are writing to him there at Everybody Reads Raymond. The particular Raymond column title of reference is #Fail:
Before I even knew you wrote these wisdoms here today, you just happened to have been a major part of the column I wrote and posted about the same time yesterday at my “The Pecan Park Eagle” site.
As I’ve tried to say more implicitly a couple of times in recent public writings, you are on your way to becoming one of the best radio play-by-play guys of all time. Allow me here to move what I think directly into the daylight: In every technical way, you are already there. You just needed more time and tenure under the growing strength of public support for what you do. A bigger public persona might have spared you from the stupidity of your recent release by the Astros. Look what it’s done for Milo. The guy’s retired, but he’s still talking about coming back to do a few games next year.
Life’s full of it. When we are on the receiving end of unfairness, whether it comes in the form of rejection, abandonment, or a flat-out f-ing over in business, it doesn’t feel good and we feel a little unclean and less lovable for a while. My worst reckoning with the experience happened about 24 years ago, in 1988, when I got to be on good writing terms with a fellow named Scott Peck, who wrote the iconic story of personal growth and transformation that still sells today as “The Road Less Traveled.” In short, Scott liked a course I had written based on his book so much that he reached out and encouraged me to apply for the new job as CEO/Director of a new foundation in Tennessee that some people were establishing to carry out his programatic ideas for healthy community building. – I applied, but never even got to the interview phase. The letter I got in the mail from the interviewing committee didn’t say I had been rejected. It just said, after reading my written responses to their initial questions, that I had been “deselected from the list of candidates under consideration.” – What a stink bomb that little piece of candy-coated disappointment turned out to be. – How in the world is a “deselected” person supposed to feel about themselves, anyway?
Closed Door/Open Door
Once I got past the smell, the “deselection” experience turned into a life changer for me. It made me take a long hard look at how we use language in so-called professional circles and start turning back to the use of plainer, simpler words. It also became part of my pull back to the game of baseball, where we still have foul lines that protect us from egregious errors (most of the time, anyway) and a game that plays out like the long season of life itself. We have our good and bad games – and long streaks of one kind or another – but we never forget: We are here to win – no matter how long it takes.
“You gotta have heart, miles and miles of heart!” We learned that on the sandlot, long before there even was a song from “Damn Yankees” to carry that spirit to everyone else in our little part of the world. – And nobody deselected any of us on the sandlot. They might have called us names or tried to run us off, but we refused rejection. We fought our way back until our playing abilities earned us places on the field.
We hung in there with heart and hope until we earned a place to stand. And we didn’t walk away because we saw what it did to the kids who gave up.
I didn’t know it then, but I know it now. I learned more about life on the sandlot than I ever did in graduate school.
It belongs to you, Dave. Better days are coming.