Given that this is our annual All Star edition, I’m mindful of a personal All Star memory that profoundly shaped my life in manners both painful and rewarding. It requires some setting …
The year was 1960-something, and shortly after the conclusion of the Richland Youth Association baseball season, my dad was selected to be the assistant coach of our traveling All Star team. It was quite an honor, but he was quite a coach.
Deftly trying to convince a rag-tag collection of average-skill 12 year olds that they could be champions, he almost succeeded – we finished second in the league. For his reward, Coach Y got to join a bunch of fast-aging fat guys who shouldn’t be wearing baseball uniforms in wearing one. Indeed, he and the team set our sights on a postseason schedule that would take us to Altus, Okla., among various baseball meccas, as we pursued the coveted Bronco League national championship.
Wait … Did I say “we”?
In what is likely an unprecedented move by a baseball coaching parental figure (in the history of baseball-coaching parental figures, no less), Coach Y called his shortstop into the living room and proceeded to tell him he didn’t make the team. Yep, you read that right. A Dad Coach didn’t select his Son Player to be an All Star.
Here’s why, as he painfully explained: I was a decent-fielding, poor-hitting, average-running player. The All Star team is supposed to be composed of only the league’s best players. I wasn’t one of those, and it wouldn’t be fair to someone who was one of those if I made the team and he didn’t.
I’m pretty sure I didn’t hear that last part, as I was too busy rapidly retiring to my bedroom, wailing all the while. I am fairly certain I vowed, in between sobs, that I’d never speak to the assistant All Star coach again.
Which was a shame, because I wouldn’t have gotten to thank him for teaching me a rather significant lesson. In fact, it might be the most significant lesson I ever learned from the coach: Doing the right thing, while often difficult, is always the best course to take. ALWAYS.
This month, we pay tribute to literally hundreds of people in the Arlington/Mansfield/Grand Prairie area who do the right things routinely. Our All Star team is composed of the best of the best, because it was chosen by the best of the best: our readers. I highly recommend that you set aside some time to pore over the profiles of this year’s winners and honorable mentions. I think you’ll discover that we’ve got a lot of remarkable folks here doing a lot of remarkable things.
I can’t vouch, however, for how they look in baseball uniforms.