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Young People … Our Greatest Resource

Those Hands

With the World Series upon us, I thought this piece from my newsletter might be timely. Enjoy. 

James Sutton, Psychologist 


It was early December, 1993. I had just finished a keynote address at a very elegant hotel in downtown Dallas. It was an especially rewarding experience.

“There’s no way to improve on this day,” I mumbled to myself, as I searched for an overhead bin on the crowded plane headed home.

But I was wrong.

I stowed my bag and focused on the task of buckling in. I glanced down the aisle and saw a familiar figure heading for one of the few remaining seats near me in the back of the aircraft.

It was baseball legend Nolan Ryan.

As he busied himself stowing his things, I busied myself picking my chin up from the floor.

Ryan took his place in the middle seat across from me and one row back.  There was just no way I could speak to him, not there anyway. I wanted to tell him how much of an inspiration he has been to me, and that I have used him in many presentations as an example of a solid role model for our young people.

I wrote him a note on the back of a business card and, with a stretch, passed it to him.

He acknowledged it.

I had the opportunity to speak to him briefly as he waited for a rental car. I couldn’t help but notice his hands as he accepted my handshake. There was something quite unique about those hands.

What was unique was there was NOTHING unique about his hands, the hands that could make a 98 mph fastball dance across the plate consistently and effectively year after year. Those hands looked pretty average to me.

The best of Nolan Ryan’s skills were never in his hands, arms or legs, although he stays in incredible shape. The skills that carried his career across the 60s, 70s, 80s and into the 90s were those of commitment, dedication, desire and plain old hard work. 

We can’t be Nolan Ryan; God made only one of those. But we CAN grow in our commitment, dedication, desire and effort. Then, like one of sports’ truly greats, we can deliver across the plate consistently and effectively—year after year after year.

October 21, 2007 Posted by | Educators, family, Inspirational, Parents, Self-esteem | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment