It was 1975 and the flight surgeon in our U.S. Marine Corps F-4 Phantom fighter squadron convinced me to get a septoplasty to correct my deviated nasal septum – that’s the center part of your nose dividing the two nasal passages.
Mine was so crooked that I could only breathe through one nostril. After a brutal operation, the doctor asked me when I had broken my nose. I responded that I didn’t realize that it had been broken. He then told me that it had been broken three times. Thinking back to my junior high days, I remembered a couple of the hits that I took to the front of my head while playing backyard football. I’m unsure how my buddies fared, but I got three broken noses from it all.
the Major Leagues.
About the same time in my athletic career, my town, Scotland, Pennsylvania, formed a Little League team. We had uniforms, umpires, enforced rules, regular practices, decent baseball fields to play on and, most important of all, we had coaches. We regularly played against seven other teams in our league.
My buddies and I still loved backyard football but there was no comparison between it and our Little League experience. One team from Fayetteville, Pennsylvania, stood out.
They had a beautiful field and a great coach. I don’t remember his name, but I do remember his team. You might even recognize one of his players: Thomas Dale Brookens, who played on the 1984 World Champion Detroit Tigers.
Another player in our league – we’ll call him Randy – had amazing talent. He intimidated everyone with his speed, aggressive playing and cannon-like arm. The Major League scouts were watching him when he was only 13 years old. He made it to the Minor Leagues and should have made it to the Majors like Tom. I ran into him 25 years after Little League. He was a broken man. The fame and the drugs derailed him. When I ran across him in the mid-1980s, he was caretaker at a church campground.
Tom, like Randy, obviously had lots of talent. However, Tom had something Randy did not. He had the smarts to listen to and seek out good coaches. Tom was also surrounded by a support group: brothers, cousins, family and other individuals who encouraged him to develop his talent and to keep his head screwed on straight.
He was also willing to put in the thousands of hours of practice required to make it to the Major League. It was this combination of talent, character and lots of hard work that allowed him to achieve the success that he did. He was not only a very successful baseball player, but he went on to also become a successful baseball coach.
Aspire for the big leagues.
I hear it from contractors, young and old, all the time: “You can’t teach me nothin’!” And they’re right. I can’t teach them “nothin’.” They know it all. Not only are they unteachable, but they also aren’t looking to grow or improve their entrepreneurial skill set. They’re like the man who died at age 25 but wasn’t buried until the age of 75. They’re dead mentally.
You have contractors who have no vision and who are playing at backyard landscaping. They do not aspire to grow and play in the big leagues. They refuse to play by the rules, accept and/or seek out good coaches and develop their managerial skill set. They never become true entrepreneurs and make it to the big leagues.
Be like Tom.
If you desire to become a true professional, there’s lots of help available. You need to seek out good coaches, work hard and put in the the hours required to make it to the big leagues.
I played backyard football and had a lot of fun with my buddies. Tom played Major League baseball with the best baseball players in the world. I ended up with three broken noses. Tom ended up with a World Series ring.