I like most of you saw the instant replay of the last out of the perfect game pitched by Armando Galarrage. That’s when we all saw baseball umpire Jim Joyce call the runner safe. Then Jim Joyce did something highly unusual in this day and age of professional sports, he accepted responsibility and apologized. Did that shock you? I think what he did, took America by surprise!
Joyce said “I missed it, I missed it,” Joyce barked, his voice at the extreme end of anguished. “I took a perfect game from that kid who pitched a perfect game. “It was the biggest call of my career and I kicked the (s**t) out of it. “I’m sorry. I had a great angle and I missed the call.”
I have seen many blown calls by umpires, and refs in big games. I look at it as its part of life’s displeasures. Mistakes are common events that happen to all of us. When we can admit we have caused a few of them ourselves so much the better. Joyce, came right out and said he had missed the cal, that cost someone a perfect game. When Detroit Tigers pitcher Galarrage forgave Joyce, both men shared in a class act the world shared in. Still Joyce had a very hard time forgiving himself.
Leyland heard about Joyce’s psychological state in the Detroit Tigers clubhouse. “I gotta get over there,” the Tigers manager said, heading for the doorway, and for the tunnel leading to the umpire’s dressing room. Leyland returned 15 minutes later. “He’s better now,” the Tigers manager said, “forgiving an umpire who could not forgive himself.”
So, what can we learn from these two about real life situations we face everyday? For many of us who have played in sports, and have used the team work concept to make us better people in life. Do you have a coach that needs some forgiveness, or another player you need to forgive? Being part of a team is like being in a close knit family. There are differences in families, and that’s OK. Its important that you be able to talk out those differences! Coaches will try to keep harmony in the clubhouse, that’s their job. Players have that same responsibility to keep the peace. As a professional athlete what fans say about you, should be taken to heart. I am not talking about your skill set on the field, but your attitude off the field. If your avoiding fans, are known for having a bad attitude and not friendly, that gets around.
Approachable players and coaches are great ambassadors for the game. If a umpire and player can show the world that both can get over a bad situation and move on, how much more should we strive for the same thing. Attitude is everything!