Monday, December 24, 2012


Do you know who that's a picture of above?  At the time, he was a kid who had a dream. He wanted to learn a craft, in this case, baseball and maybe one day he'd turn that craft into a career. No. At the time he may not have been thinking big picture, but there was something in his little heart and little brain that made him believe that if he tried it, maybe practiced, he could do it. It's no easy task and it's easy to want to give up when you're young. But sometimes alittle push from a parent or a nudge from a teacher or coach pushes you further.

I saw it in my own life and I watch myself, a nerdy kid with no real baseball talent evolve into a pretty good ballplayer. Why? I believed. I was lucky enough to get that nudge from my parents and coaches and teachers. This, in turn let me believe and dream big. It may not have been baseball, but there were other achievements for me, and life is good.

My kids are learning it now. I don't force my kids to do sports. I do however explain that when you start something, you don't quit, you finish it.
It's not easy, because when you see your kid in the pool after a swim meet looking at his time on the wall and slapping the water because he didn't place... at 8 years old, you know they just want to give up. But we try to look our kids in the eyes and ask "Did you try your best?". If the answer's "yes", they've already won.

I know, in the real world, in Yankee baseball, it doesn't work that way. But values build toughness and over time, kids understand sometimes losing 1 time stings so bad, they don't want that losing feeling again... And they win.
My 10 year old is a good baseball player who goes through his growing pains on the field a lot. But he's learning. You have no idea what I've heard him tell me... "I hate baseball so much" after a bad game for example. But guess who's out there the next practice? He is. Failure makes you strong, but believing makes you stronger.

I know, I'm pulling out all the stops and I'm 2 seconds away from a spiritual Deepak Chopra moment. That's not what this is about.  This is just about believing in yourself, dreaming big. A life lesson, a Yankee lesson. You think Derek Jeter goes out thinking he couldn't hit 3000 hits?
You think Aaron Boone thought he'd get an out against the Sox back in 2003?  How about Endy Chavez when he made that amazing catch back in 2006 when the Mets were in Game 7 of the NLCS?

Big moments happen because players believe. There is no other way to explain it.

So, tonight, as I watch my children sleep and wish for happy things in life and of course Santa coming to bring them a gift they really, really wanted this year... I sigh with relief. I stare and wonder what my life would mean if these children never were here and I know I would be a much different man. But I'm here in the moment and I know that my grandparents instilled lessons in my parents and they did to me and my brother and now I stand here holding the cards... Trying to guide my own children and making mistakes along the way. But one thing I know is that mistakes make us wiser and believing makes us stronger and I see it now in my 40's. And I got a glimpse of it at age 9 or 10. Just like that kid at the top of this post.

That kid is Ty Hensley and his mother gave me that picture exclusively for you, the Bleeding Yankee Blue readers to see.  That photo represents what can be done if you believe. Hopefully Ty's journey continues and it becomes bigger and better for one of my favorite Yankee families ever. And that picture not only represents Ty's journey, it represents your journey, your children's journey and how we handle it along the way... Heart, passion... And believing in yourself.
You do that... anything can be accomplished.  Anything.

Merry Christmas everyone...sleep tight.

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