“Oliva batted with a knock-kneed stance. He would lunge at the ball when it was pitched to him. As he waited for the pitch his weight rested on his front foot, the one closest to the pitcher. You’re supposed to keep your weight on your back foot. He was all wrong.” This was how players who first saw him play described him hitting.
Generally when I go to a basketball game, which is often–3-4 times a week, I like to get there early. I like to watch the kids especially in shooting warm-ups. Watch their mechanics of shooting. The other night I watched this one kid and thought to myself, “he’s got shooting problems, sag off him, dare him to shoot.” His release was not good, his balance likewise, often falling away, seldom squared up to the basket.
When I was working golf tournaments one of the things I liked to do was go to the practice range and watch the players hit balls. To me it was especially interesting to watch players that had less than a picture swing. Often watching and wondering how did they do so well with that swing.
The Oliva in the first paragraph that was Tony Oliva. He went on to play fifteen seasons in the major leagues. Eight consecutive years he was selected for the all star team. He has a lifetime batting average of .304.
The kid I watched shoot the other night. He had 14 points in the first quarter. Golf swings, well say a Jim Furyk has done rather well for himself over the years.
You know there are people in life “Who do things less than the picturesque way, what some would say “the right way” and have done rather well for themselves. Maybe the best thing to do before making final evaluations is let them do what they do. Let the results speak for themselves. The most important thing is “getting the job done.”
I don’t know Rebecca B. Never met her. As an old friend of mine used to say, “I wouldn’t know her from a load of coal.”
In a previous “Just some thoughts” I referenced recently attending the Nashville Literacy Council awards dinner. In a book, In Our Words, that was given to those who attended the dinner Rebecca tells a bit about “her story.”
Her story is interesting but it was the last line of her story that really struck home with me. Rebecca came to America from Ghana three years ago. (One of the things the Council does is help many of these people beside learning English and to read is they help them become citizens.)
When she lived in Ghana she could not read, write or speak English. She now is taking classes with the Council, “The more help I get the happier I get.” Her words. She wants to get a driver’s license so she can drive to the job she has. She wanted to learn English so she could read to her granddaughter. Something I have so often taken for granted reading to my kids.
But as I said the last sentence in her story is what got me.
“I am thankful for my family, my friends,
my work and my chance to be happy.”
Thankful….for the “Chance.” Who ever says they are thankful for the “chance.” We Americans so often just take that for granted. I have.
How many of us have ever thought about that…thankful for a chance. Sadly some even feel “deserving ” or “entitled” to that chance.
For a chance, an opportunity, for a chance to be happy. A lady “thankful” for a chance.
As another thanksgiving is upon us I will share again with you something I wrote sometime ago. As I think about Thanksgiving once again I think of what all I personally have had and current do have to be thankful for. Likewise for you? Yes as Jimmy’s friend said: “Some of its magic and some of its tragic…but…I’ve had a good life.” True.
And maybe each of us can pause and moment and think about what the writer of Ecclesiastes was saying…to enjoy life
Happy Thanksgiving to each of you and keep on.
DID JIMMY BUFFETT READ THE BIBLE?
Just some thoughts:
“Did Jimmy Buffett read the Bible?”
Well if nothing else that line should have gotten one’s attention.
“Jimmy, some of it’s magic, some of it’s tragic, But I had a good life all the way.”
The minister where my wife and I attend church has been doing a series on the book of Ecclesiastes. Possibly my favorite book of the Bible. “Tells it like it is.”
As I sat in the service one morning listening to the speaker my mind wondered to a Buffett song he once penned. It is one of my favorites. For some reason I began to run the lyrics of this song though my mind and related it to some things one might read in the book of Ecclesiastes. (Sorry Rev…guess I was driftin’ off in another direction.)
The song tells a story about a man’s life. He’s now eighty-six years old (perpetual motion) and I get the feeling he has kinda come to get a grip on life and what’s important. But it was a process, but never fully arrival for anyone.
When young he lived in Paris, moved on the England, got married. Had a fine life he says, had a son. But as life will do questions came to him and some of them with answers that he just locked away. But some remained unanswered. Years passed, twenty or so and tragedy comes to him. War takes both his baby and his lady, left him with only one eye. His world was shattered, he cried. He thinks back over his life and recalls looking for answers he never found. Who among us hasn’t done that? Life will do that to us, gives us questions but no answers. Right?
He now begins to write his memoirs, his health is leaving him but just maybe he has gotten a little bit of a grip on life. Maybe some of the times he was sitting on the pier fishing he was reading Ecclesiastes and thought about what the writer says: (you think?)
“Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart for it is now that God favors what you do. Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that
God has given you under the sun.”
“Jimmy, some of it’s magic, some of it’s tragic, but I had a good life all the way”
Life, some of it’s meaningless, sad, good but most of all try to learn to enjoy life as best you can where you are and with who you find yourself.
Hum….I wonder if Jimmy read the book.
==============================================November 27, 2019
This past week I attended a banquet held each year by the Nashville Literacy Agency.
As I sat there I was reminded of a quote. I think the first time I heard it was in Mrs.Riddle’s high school English class. I was no Rhodes scholar in her class, (or any class.) It was the last class of the day the room was right over the gym (home of the Pimento Peppers) and my mind had already gone to basketball practice. But there was no teacher high school or college that influenced me as she did. A excellent teacher and a classy lady.
The quote, and she often pulled what seemed like things out of the air, was ” To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.” I think it was said by some guy who got lost, went out and lived by a pond in the woods. Yes, I do know, Henry David Thoreau.
The banquet is held each year to honor the students and volunteers who are a part of this program. Basically teaching people to read. I have been told that one out of ever eight people in Nashville has a literacy issue. Can you imagine not being able to read. To pick up a paper, hey even more importantly a basketball program and not read the names,etc.
I was struck by a number of things said that evening but in particular something that was said by a volunteer, a lady who takes her time each week helping teach people to read. She said:
“One day I finally came to the realization that I was self-absorbed. Everything in my world, was about me. It was time I got outside myself.”
As I heard one quote recently: “The problem with some people’s world, its’ too small, they seemed to appear and think they are the only ones on it.”
Volunteers. There are many things that make America great but I think one of them is their spirit to help others.
Volunteer: “A person who freely offers to take part in an undertaking or task. Often to help another.”
Volunteer’s they make a difference, they often perform the highest of art, they add to the quality of not just a person’s day, but a person’s life.
So to my good friend the director of this agency, K.K. everyday you and your people can take pride in knowing
You are making a difference.” Not everyone can say that.
Yesterday was November 22. Fifty-six years ago on that date an American president, John F. Kennedy was assassinated.
Yesterday morning I sat with three people and I ask them how old they were when the assassination happened. One was two years old the other two were four years old when this happen. What they would know about that event in history would basically come from what they were told or taught.
I fear today that our schools are not teaching history as once taught. In some cases almost not teaching it at all. Not too long ago I ask four college kids could they identify these. Dwight Eisenhower, Harry Truman, George Marshall and Normandy. Eisenhower and Truman they got. Not one got Marshall and one got Normandy.
Case in point. George Marshall was the Chief of Staff of the Army in WW II. After the war he was the master mind for President Truman in what was called the Marshall Plan. That plan saw the United States and the Allies in the rebuilding of Germany. The very country that the Allies had been at war with to destroy along with their leader, Hitler. For nearly one year almost every two minutes American and Allied planes dropped food, needed supplies to the people of Germany.
If one knows about the Marshall Plan they can become aware of a country’s attitude toward freedom and how they deal with a previous enemy. This past year I stood a block from the Berlin Wall and had a native of that city share with me what the Marshall Plan meant to him and his family. He had lived under Russian law after the war. He said to me: “It was clear to us folks who lived here the difference in communism and democracy, one won, then sent help and another chose to stay and take over.”
The significance here was one of the keys to understanding world happenings even today. After WW II you had the United States and England turning around and giving aid to rebuild what had been their enemy. On the other hand you had a country, Russia who did just the opposite, it chose to occupy and take over the land and people they had just defeated.
If one studies history they can see the difference in democracy and communism, socialism. (Yes there is a difference but seems where one shows up the other is also present.) One chose to rebuild, another to conquer, control and occupy, Same with Japan. The United States under Douglas MacArthur set up programs to rebuild Japan. Today both Germany and Japan live under their own choice of governments.
Winston Churchill once said: “The future is unknowable, but the past should give us hope.” If there is going to be hope for the future then there must be knowledge and understanding of the past.
But if the history of that time is not taught then people who did not live or experience this have no idea of the past. They can be told or taught just about anything one wants them to know. There are people today who even want to say the Holocaust did not happen.
History is one of the most valuable things a people need to know. From their own personal history to their country’s.
Who among us has not found difficulty in finding the words to say. The right words.
Many years ago during the middle of the night in a violent Indiana thunderstorm one of our very young children walked into our bedroom. Standing beside our bed he said to me; “It’s stormin’ bad outside, you wouldn’t be near as scared if I got in bed with you would you?” I think he had some words turned around but I got his meaning. We all have had trouble expressing ourselves as we might want.
Maybe that special time wanting to say a thank you, express our feelings, emotions, affection and just can’t find the words.
Some folks can find the words but often they aren’t exactly the words they might want. Or the words they do choose can leave a bit of confusion. We think we know what they mean but not sure about the right choices in trying to communicate.
Probably no one fits that mold better than the baseball great, Hall of Fame member of the New York Yankees, Yogi Berra.
Try a few of these on for size coming from Berra.
He once said about his wife; “We have a good time together even when we’re not together.”
“Public speaking is one of the best things I hate.”
“He’s learning me all his experience.”
“If people don’t want to come out to the park nobody’s going to stop them.”
“Don’t get me right, I’m just asking.”
“If you don’t know where you’re going you might not get there.”
“Why buy good luggage you only use it when you travel.”
“You can observe a lot by watching.”
Once when his position of catcher was change and he was put in left field he said of playing that position: “It gets late early out here.”
“Nobody goes there anymore it’s too crowded.”
What one of us has not had this thought:“I love movies when I like them.”
“If you don’t go to their funeral, they won’t come to yours”.