Lesson from a Sports Hero

I spent my childhood in New Jersey and just like many kids raised there,  I was a NY Yankee fan.  Occasionally we would  go to Yankee Stadium and watch our favorite team do what they did best. Due to the kindness of one of my dad’s business associates, our seats were directly behind the Yankee dugout where we had the luxury of “talking to” our heroes:  Mickie Mantle, Roger Maris, and Yogi Berra.  My brothers and I would call out to them as though they  friends playing stick ball in our own backyard “…Hey, Mickie, great hit!” we would say.   And not often, but every once in a while, Mickie would  acknowledge us with a “Hey kids” or even just the tip of  his baseball cap.
Yogi, # 8, was my personal favorite. And when he acknowledged me I was in heaven! Sometime in my young adulthood,  my interest in the game of baseball waned, but my interest in the lives of those baseball greats did not.  Many of Yogi’s quotes became famous quotes and I used several of them over the years in my workshops.  Most his sayings sound silly at first, but  when I take them a bit further than perhaps Yogi  originally intended I am reminded of  a valuable lesson.

One of my favorite Yogi quotes is:  “It gets late early out there.”  Taken on face value, Yogi Berra was referring to left field in Yankee Stadium, a part of the field impacted by the change of sunlight later in the day.  The change of light in late afternoons created shadows, increasing the level of fielding difficulty for the players. Beyond Yogi’s initial intention, the phrase has  meaning well beyond the game of baseball.

“It gets late early out there.” 

You see, just like left field in Yankee Stadium, “it gets late early” in our lives as well.  Years and decades come and go and if we are not careful, we find our view impaired by shadows and other distractions.   Yogi’s crazy statement is a warning to us all:   Find out what you want to do and go do it.  Do it now because there will come a time when you are less able to do what you want to do.

To young children, I think the quote means start your day off right, enjoy every minute because the day turns to night time quickly.  And to the young adults, I believe the quote means find your passion and follow it because if you wait for “just the right time” to do it, you may miss your chance because “it gets late early out there.”  If you are a student considering a career,begin now studying your opportunities carefully and choose the organization you would be proud to work for.  And if you are over 50, well you know  better than others that it has already gotten “late early out there” so get done whatever it is that you still wish to do, now, no more delays.

Application for me personally:  I have been talking and talking about writing a book for far too long now. I know “It gets late early out there” , and before I am no longer able to retain my thoughts, use my computer, or influence a publisher to read my first draft, I have to get serious about writing.

And what about you? Do Yogi’s thoughts , “it gets late early out there?”, trigger anything in your mind?

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