Daily Short-hOPT: A Need For Personal Responsibility

“The victim mindset dilutes the human potential. By not accepting personal responsibility for our circumstances, we greatly reduce our power to change them.” – Steve Maraboli

A few years ago, one of my ballplayers quit in the middle of the season. He cited a lack of playing time as the reason for his premature departure. After a conversation between he and I discussing the regrets of the decision, he rejoined us the following season. On one of our bus rides, we got to talking about basketball, and I asked, “Didn’t you used to play basketball?” His reply: “Yeah, a couple years ago, but I quit because the coach would never play me.” I think that’s called a pattern. 

With the passing of baseball great (and one of my personal favorites) Tony Gwynn, a discussion about banning smokeless tobacco in Major League Baseball has been sparked. Today, on the radio show ‘Mike & Mike In The Morning’, they were taking calls on the subject. The callers predominantly sided with a blanket ban on the use of chew in the bigs. The universal and prevailing reason was that it set a poor example for kids. Didn’t we learn from Charles Barkley that these athletes aren’t role models? Ell oh ell

I read an article last night about a youth baseball coach in the crosshairs of a lawsuit because a kid on one of his teams tried to catch a flyball with his face instead of his glove. His parents allege that the drill wasn’t being performed properly. The truth is, the sun got in the kid’s eyes, he lost the ball, and took one in the grill. So, yeah, let’s sue the coach, the league…hell, let’s sue Bud Selig for perpetuating the flyball itself by allowing flyballs AND sunshine in
major league parks. 

All of these scenarios speak to the same thing: personal responsibility. In the first scenario, it was everyone’s fault but the young man’s that he wasn’t getting adequate playing time. Surely it wasn’t his attitude, lack of work ethic, or general performance. It was the coach’s fault. In the second scenario, the reason for banning dip is that kids will see it and try to emulate it. Honestly, that’s a strong possibility. I remember Lenny Dystrka and Daryl Strawberry rocking massive chaws back in the day, and I definitely filled my jaw with Big League Chew and seeds to look like those cats. Sure, kids look up to athletes. In a lot of cases (but certainly not all), that’s unfortunate. However, does it make more sense to cry for a ban on a legal product used by adults, or would it be more productive to teach our kids about the dangers of said product and arm them with pertinent information regarding it? I know, much easier to pass the buck and support the ban. In the third scenario, that buck was passed on to a volunteer baseball coach, aka. a guy trying to pass something lasting on to a group of young people. Yes, that’s much better than telling our kids, “Hey, these things happen in baseball,” and then teaching him how to shield the sun with his glove. 

Really, it’s always easier to pass the buck and assume no responsibility. Excuses for failure are much easier to produce than honest evaluation and introspection. Shouting for a ban on something is way easier than taking the time to teach someone why it’s a bad idea to do it. In a time where entitlement has absolutely run amok, can the levelheaded among us please stand up and demand personal responsibility be taken? When things don’t go our way, I advocate looking inward before we begin to look outward. Could we have done something differently? Could we have done something better? Could we be completely or partially culpable? 

I implore those reading this blog to expect and teach the merits of owning up to our failures and shortcomings…and then working to make them right and better. 

Have an awesome Friday,


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