As a lifelong Met fan, you still can’t really deny the magic and thrill of watching Derek Jeter’s last at bat. Tied at 5 with the Baltimore Orioles, Jeter steps up to the plate. Pinch runner Antoan Richardson is on second as Jeter takes his first pitch. BAM! Walkoff single to right field. After 20 years of doing what you love and being a man and baseball player most every human has a basic level of respect for (so much so we are proud to spell it RE2PECT) you can’t really make this stuff up. I saw the comments on my own Facebook feed as people watched in disbelief. I was overwhelmed with emotion watching it on a bit of a delay but NOT in the LEAST bit SURPRISED at the way it played out.
Though not a tomboy I have always loved sports, especially BEING THERE LIVE. Why? Because you have a regular opportunity to watch someone make a miracle, to overcome defeat, to work together with a bunch of people for a common goal. Now I am clearly a glutton for punishment as a JETS and METS fan, but what can you say I love the underdog! We look at someone like Derek Jeter and wonder how a moment like last night could be so perfectly scripted.
It comes down to two things:
PURPOSE & INTEGRITY
Aligned with your purpose, this is what life can look like: 20 years, lifetime batting average of .309, 14 time All Star, 5 Gold Gloves, 5 World Series rings, and the accolades go on. But I’m going to take you back to what I think are two of Jeter’s most important awards that I am sure no one ever talks about. In 1992 he was the USA Today High School Player of the Year and the Gatorade High School Athlete of the year. What do these two things reflect? At an early age, the captain himself was listening. He had a profound connection to why he was on this planet.
The act of baseball itself is just a game. When you think about it, it might not seem that exciting to you. Where the magic happens is in HOW you play. During the steroid era of baseball where players were under high scrutiny, Jeter was never once under suspicion. Not only that – he still performed. He didn’t cheat. His integrity and his purpose dictated a career that is historic, epic, and went out in a Blaze of Jon Bon Jovi Glory. (My 80’s gal is coming out now).
What does this mean for you?
Are you going to be Derek Jeter? Will your career go out before millions to watch live on TV? Probably not. But what would life look like if we all were listening to something that Jeter tapped into at an early age? What if we could go back and align with that purpose? I can’t make you 18 again (I mean I am sure someone is selling that!), but I can tell you that this purpose never leaves you. It may transform and change through different jobs and callings, but it is there.
The last thing is so hard. We are tempted as kids to cheat on tests, or that person we SHOULD have broken up with before going away to college. Integrity is no joke. It’s not morality – its about playing the game you are playing and doing it with class. Jeter signed up to play baseball as himself not a jacked up version of himself….and he succeeded. You can’t cheat your way to success, otherwise call it something else. You will always know in the back of your mind that something isn’t right, and that will gnaw at you forever.
When you do what you love, you will go out like Jeter in your own way. You can do what you love and pay your bills. You can create yourself as a master of reinvention, and you will survive change. What’s next? You decide. Play ball.