“What if one day it should
Really come to pass
That the last shall be first
And the first shall be last?”
- Rebecca St. James
“You Then Me”
As the Atlanta Braves played the defending champion L.A. Dodgers in a recent game, Braves left-handed pitcher Max Fried unleashed a 94 mile-per-hour fastball on the inside corner, about knee high, to Dodgers star outfielder Mookie Betts.
Atlanta catcher Travis d’Arnaud quickly went to throw the ball back to Fried, expecting a strike call, and when he didn’t get the call, he double-pumped his throw back to the mound, and he was visibly talking to the umpire.
The camera panned to the plate, and Betts was smiling, and anyone who could lip read clearly caught Betts say to the catcher, “I thought it was a ball.”
This brought a shake of the head from d’Arnaud and a hearty laugh from Betts.
Two pitches later, d’Arnaud called the exact same pitch in almost the exact same location, and Fried caught just a little more of the plate, striking out Betts looking. Betts was now the one shaking his head.
It reminded me of what my high school coaches preached to us in football. While we wanted to beat the other team, we also wanted to display sportsmanship on the field.
The phrase used was to kick their butt between their whistles, then help them up after the play is over.
Years later, many guys that I squared off with frequently in high school and college in sports are my friends or are people I interact with on a frequent basis. Treating others well all those years ago set the groundwork for positive relationships now.
What we say and what we do around others can open or close doors so quickly.
Suggesting a woman achieved her role by sleeping to the top may seem like a funny joke...until it’s your daughter who now believes that she has to offer herself up in that manner to have success in life.
Making fun of a celebrity who discusses his or her mental health struggles can get you a laughing emoji on social media, but your friend that sees the post now knows that you’re not a safe person to talk with about his or her own mental health issues.
A consistent theme talking with people recently has been a very “heavy” feeling after the last year-plus, but many of those same people don’t feel like they have anyone who they can trust to be open about life’s struggles.
In a world where Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok and others encourage posting a “perfect” life, admitting to those faults, even to one’s family and closest friends, is difficult.
Wouldn’t it be great if we all had a comfortable place to express those feelings because we knew those around us were safe havens?
Because tomorrow it could be you needing that help. Keep others focused first in your mind, and you’ll find you have doors opened to you when you need them most.