Meeting Hank

“What you did yesterday is only good for wrapping dead fish.” Hank Aaron

This past fall I had the opportunity to meet Hamerin’ Hank Aaron, one of Baseball’s all-time legends. Shocked is an understatement, as it was on a moments notice when we found out that he was coming to speak with us. Once in his presence, he made us all feel comfortable. His humility and modesty allowed for the dialogue to flow smoothly. Here are some of his points that resonated with me…

There are no shortcuts) When speaking on his home run record being broken, there was no bitterness or unrest from Aaron. Instead, he expressed to us that there are no shortcuts in the game of baseball. He said that taking the easy way out was dishonest and only damaged oneself. Not going into specifics, he stated that those who cheated the game of baseball will look back and recognize their wrongdoings someday. During his career, he always stayed true to himself and his values.

In recent years, steroid use at the professional level has been identified as a problem.

Humble, team first) When asked about his greatest memory from baseball he immediately responded with team accomplishments. It was not his 715th home run or any of his other individual achievements, it was all about the team. He deflected praise and always eluded to the successes of others and the teams that he was on. This level of humility was inspiring.

Practice, give it everything you’ve got) Without constant hard work and practice, we would have never heard of him. He mentioned that in order to do anything great that a tremendous amount of practice is needed. Being talented was not enough for him because he also needed to outwork everyone else.

It was not easy) His earliest memories of baseball were playing on a dirt field, hitting bottle caps with a broomstick. Aaron mentioned his modest upbringing, stating that baseball was really his only option to properly support himself. He also said that during the height of his career there were a lot of narrow-minded individuals who wanted to see him fail. Death threats, coupled by many other intimidations made things increasingly difficult for him. He revealed that even though his career was reaching new heights, it was not always an enjoyable time.

Hank Aaron is a true legend. I still can’t believe I met him.

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