A Father and Son, A Perfect Swing

As father – son baseball moments go, we have one that may stand the test of time, ranking right up there with Kevin Costner as the fictional Ray Kinsella, playing catch with his ghostly father with a backdrop of an Iowa cornfield  in the final scene of Field of Dreams.

For me, a Dad who has played ball with both of my kids, son and daughter, it was one of those “goose pimple” events.  Yankee star second baseman Robinson Cano, winning the All Star Home Run Derby, with his father and mentor Jose as his pitcher.

It was compelling television. Jose was stoic and unsmiling as he threw the batting practice tosses to his son, and didn’t even crack a smile until he knew that Cano would grab the title of “home run king” for the night.

The outcome never seemed to be in doubt. In the final round, Cano hit a home run with most of the pitches his Dad threw to him. In retrospect, it looked like they had been doing it forever. And they probably have.

Once victory was secure, the only thing left was a bear hug between a father and his boy.

In a night full of baseballs launched out of the park, majestic moonshots landing in second and third decks, Robinson had the most majestic of all, a couple of balls measured beyond 470 feet.

In an interview after the competition, the younger Cano did not reference his upper body strength, sense of balance, or his perfectly Ruthian swing as the factors for his stratospheric display. Instead, he gave credit where he thought it was due.

It was my dad.”

Cano said he wished the trophy could be cut in half — half for him, half for his dad.

“These are the things you share with your family, when you retire you can look back and say, ‘Wow, I was good in the day’,” Cano said. “This is something I’m always going to have in my mind and my heart.”

A committed father rarely understands the importance of his role. The statistics bear out that having a father at home shuts down that greater risk of having major challenges in life while growing up.

On the flip side, I think having a Dad like Jose Cano can not only keep a kid out of trouble,  but also accelerate any success that child might experience. And once you get momentum…

Jose was a professional athlete himself, who took the time to teach his son the finer points of the game, and obviously, the skills required to live a life of success within the sport he loves.

An old school guy, who puts family first and his needs and wants on the back burner if necessary.

Thanks to Jose and Robinson for showing us real must see TV for families. In a time where most television is reality garbage, this baseball event was one for the ages.

An Opportunity To Become “Full Time” Patriotic

Back in late March, I discussed posting an article to this site at least once a week. Well, as you can judge from the April archives, that ambition went down in flames. I’m not one to use excuses liberally, but a couple of important events happened in our family, as well as a very intense schedule for my son, coming down to the last phases of a first degree black belt test in tae kwon do (you will read a little bit about both in the coming weeks). Well, he’s finally got the black belt, and Mom and Dad can breathe a little easier. And, to boot, we have more time.

With this, I still hope to post articles more frequently, if not every week, beginning with today’s little rant about patriotism. I appreciate the readers who are here and continue to read despite the erratic publication schedule. Enjoy today’s post, and start looking for more to come!

Besides the obvious benefits of Osama Bin Laden being taken out by a Navy Seal (the obvious: one unholy terrorist taker of American lives eliminated), there are some not so subtle side effects of the events of the first of May.

Many beautiful images proliferated throughout the web after the fact. Stars and stripes, shimmering red, white, and blue colors in abundance. We were introduced again to photos of the World Trade Center before the 9/11 attacks, standing tall in the majestic New York skyline.

I saw many photos of the symbol of American freedom, the bald eagle, in flight, perched and steadfast, or draped in the shades of our flag. These images reflect American pride and patriotism.

While it’s a wonderful thing to see these images, whether as icons on the social media accounts of your friends or in a newspaper publication, the truth is we never see it enough. It seems only a tragedy like 9/11, or the event of the death of a terrorist leader brings out the best of American patriotism.

It’s what I would call “part time” patriotism. And as Americans, you and I can be better than that. This site will never have a strongly political bent, but this isn’t about politics. It’s about recognizing the right from wrong and the things we can improve upon.

I fly my flag outside of my home three seasons a year. Only three, because the upstate New York winter’s cold and winds will tatter and shred the most well made flag. But I would still consider that part time patriotism, as I know I can do more to honor this country and those who serve it.

There was an uproar from some after Bin Laden’s death that “everyone celebrated it” in the streets of DC and New York. While it’s an exaggeration that “everyone” did this, it’s important to remember this one individual was responsible for destroying thousands of lives. In this particular case, you shouldn’t feel bad about feeling good.

As usual, I will invoke the old school view on this one: Bin Laden got what he had coming to him, and the method of his removal could not have happened to a better guy. Peace and diplomacy are the preferred route for most anything, but not this time.

This blog is useful for a variety of reasons, not the least of which it helps me remember things. I am part time patriotic. This post should serve to remind me to strive to become more patriotic on a regular basis. To remember to thank those men and women at every opportunity for serving our country, especially in the Middle East. And keep them in my prayers.

Did you like this article? If so, don’t keep it from your friends! Share it, tweet it, and tell me what you think in the comments section.

Whenever You’re Ready

My memory, such as it is, doesn’t function that well anymore. I’m sure the number 47 has something to do with it, but I’m not going to have age be the “be all, end all” excuse. Because of faulty memory, I tend to write things down now more than I did previously. And I should have written down, to commit to memory, a load of things that have happened in my past.

I’ve posted before about how one of my dream jobs when I was younger was to become a writer. I’ve routinely beat myself up in the past because I didn’t do more to advance that dream, to get the process in to flow so it may have had some opportunity for success.

But I don’t make a big deal of that anymore. The fact is, I was doing plenty of things to make my life exactly the way I wanted along the way. There was no room for writing, as I just had so much else going on, the majority being living my life and building a business within the walls of the family restaurant. I read a quote recently that pretty much hit home what was happening to me, and why:

“We do things when we are ready for them.”

Simple, precise, and to the point. And I agree with it 100%. With the exception of death and taxes, nobody really has to do anything that they don’t want to do. There are no rules or regulations, only the ones you impose on yourself.

You can do things, do anything, on your timetable.

I wasn’t taking on writing again until I was ready. I didn’t want to make room for it until I thought there was room to share. There wasn’t a voice that I had that I thought was worth giving to others. That’s over. I can go with that concept now.

So, you’ve wanted to do something for a long time. Or you want to try something new. How do you know if you’re ready?

1. Get confident. This one’s kind of a Catch 22. When you realize that your life is your own no matter what, your confidence spikes right then and there. The more you move your life in the direction that you choose, the higher the confidence level.

To get confident, do things have to be perfect?? No. As a matter of  fact, make as many (non-fatal) mistakes as you can. Mistakes and failure are a learning tool. Things will look and sound better with more experience and more attempts. You just have to get it going. Remember, perfect is the enemy of the good.

I know for a fact that, where this blog is concerned, I will write some good stuff, and I will write some crap. But the crap is just as important as the better writing, because it’s still a tool that is sharpening my skill. And then the hopeful result in the end will be quality content, every time.

2. Schedule It. If necessary, put what you want to do on a schedule or a calendar. Or not. If you want to do something enough, you will just start, and then do it consistently over time. Really, do we need a reminder to do stuff we like?

3. Don’t worry about outcomes. Just take a step forward. And then another. If you take enough of them, the outcome will arrive soon enough. And if it doesn’t, you can always tweak your approach, and then take another step.

4. See the end in mind. Visualizing your life as it will be, not just as it is, is hugely important. True, the present is all we have, but I don’t want to see just my job, tonight’s dinner dishes, and tomorrow’s baseball practice.

I want to see new business opportunities, our upgraded kitchen, trip(s) to Italy, my kids growing in stature and confidence, a (pre-owned) Cadillac CTS as my preferred toy, and a whole bunch of blog readers. And that, for me, would be just a short list.

So see the future. Do things in the present to get there.

Whenever you’re ready…