Tuesday, January 7, 2014


I live in a house with little boys and Monsters University plays on a loop.  More than just an animated Disney feature, there's a huge life lesson there. It's about underdogs, and working hard and proving the doubters wrong.  It's about never giving up and achieving a goal.  It's about little Mike Wazowski with not an ounce of "scare" in him. But he pushed himself to the limit to try and be the best.  We've seen that lesson in different forms in different people over and over and over again in history.

Jackie Robinson was black and "couldn't" play in the pros.  Yogi Berra was too small. Tom Landry had a terrible rookie season as coach of the Dallas Cowboys. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team. Jim Abbott only had 1 hand.  How would he ever be a pitcher?

Jorge Posada wasn't athletic enough to be a catcher. And Mike Wazowski wasn't scary enough.  All had obstacles, but all had heart and determination too.

I believe in hustle.  I have always believed in it, even when I was an 11 year old and didn't. What do I mean? I mean that at 11, it was hard to work hard. But, I knew that if I didn't try, someone would do it instead of me... and that burned me up and it made me push myself.  Sure, it wasn't until I was older that I truly understood working hard and push myself, but over time, I felt like I could achieve anything I wanted to if I put my mind to it.  It wasn't easy and you all know what I'm talking about.  But hustle is in all of us and in the moment, you need to prove you "can."

I often think back to Peter Keating's ESPN the Magazine piece about Robinson Cano and Keating's public "dress down" of my opinion of Cano's non-hustle. (Read HUSTLE TO BE NUMBER 1... NOT 2.)  God forbid I want a player I pay a salary to to work hard and bust down the first base line.  But Keating's suggestion that I was wrong still burns me up, because it almost suggests that pushing yourself doesn't matter.  He's almost suggested in his piece that because Cano was a Yankee, and "made it" already, he needed to now pace himself for a long career.  "Don't work too hard, you may get hurt, or even get tired", is how I interpreted Keating's support of Cano.  Well, I guess it doesn't matter much now. Cano's got his 10 years to non-hustle in Seattle, but my point was clear.  Hustle still matters. It doesn't matter if your in the pros, or even in Tee-ball... or even an animated character.  Believing you can, and doing it... well, you've already won in my eyes.

It's important to work at something you want.  If you get it, you're on top of the world.  If you don't, at least you know you did your best.  The sting of defeat is sometimes a good thing.  What it means is you don't want to lose again... you know what it feels like and now you want the taste of victory instead.  I believe everyone should lose 1 time, so they never want to feel that sting again.

Winning is a great thing, but you only get there by pushing yourself.  You think Ty Hensley wanted to pack it in after his abdominal injury? Sure, quitting is easy.  He could have started working in the Home Depot if he just gave up.  But he didn't.  He healed, he rehabbed and he got back on the mound.  I have mad respect for that.

Jorge Posada has always been one of my idols, even though he's literally my peer.  I loved the way he played the game. Do you think he wanted to quit when he was told he didn't have a shot in hell at being a catcher for the New York Yankees?  I can bet you money, it never entered his brain.

Jim Abbott played major league baseball with 1 hand.  He was a pitcher and had an outstanding career with the Yankees and Angels.  Do you think he wanted to just quit after a bad outing or being hold that what he was doing was ridiculous? Nope. He kept on fighting... and succeeded.

"Just go out there and show'em what Mike Wazowski can do", said Sulley in the final round of Monsters University. Mike worked his entire life to be the scariest monster on campus.  That was his moment. That was his goal.  He pushed himself, he got there because he believed he could.  And as my children sit there mesmerized... I think of my future Posadas and Berras.  I think about how they too will one day be told they "can't". Well, all I can do is enforce the good in them. I need to make them understand that confidence is key and believing and doing are important in achieving goals.  If I can do that... I've done my job as a parent, and then, they hold the torch to victory. Be it in business... sports... life.

Believe in yourself today. Push yourself today... win.  Go out there and show'em what you can do today. Trust me... you have it in you...and you know who knows that the most? You.

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