When I was a kid, my sister taught me how to play baseball. She loved the game. Then, when I got older, I got to play. I wasn’t very good but my sister was, and the neighbourhood knew we came as a package. (FYI, in our ‘hood, we had tons of gender equality before it was fashionable.) The result was my sister played second base and I was stuck in left field. Anybody who’s familiar with baseball knows that there’s not a whole hell of a lot to do in left field. So I’ve had more than my share of time to think about the game and how my sister taught me how to play.
Lesson One — You have to try. You have to step up to the plate and you have to try. You can’t say “I don’t wanna” ’cause nobody else is going to do it for you.
Lesson Two — Swing for the fences! Always give it your best shot — every time. Every time!
Lesson Three — Play to win. No matter what the score, no matter how difficult it is, no matter if it’s the bottom of the 9th and you’re down 5 runs — never give up. Never! Always remember, “It ain’t over, ’til it’s over.”
Lesson Four — Winning is fun, but winning doesn’t mean anything if it isn’t fair. If you’re not going to play by the rules, don’t play.
Lesson Five — No sore losers. Sometimes you strike out, sometimes you fumble a grounder and sometimes you lose. We have to accept that. We don’t have to like it — but we have to accept it.
And finally and most importantly:
Lesson Six — It’s a game. It’s supposed to be fun. Have fun!
It’s been a lot of years since I played sandlot baseball with my sister. But to this day, whenever I step up to the plate, I swing for the fences. That’s what my sister did her whole life — right up until the very end. And that’s what she taught me to do. Thanks, Bon. I love you.