How Most Subs Give Anything But a Sub-Par Performance

When you hear “substitute,” what comes to mind?

I think about substitute teachers. When I was a kid, a substitute teacher was not really asked to teach—he or she was more of a caretaker, someone called in to babysit a class during the regular teacher’s absence. That is not to say the subs weren’t competent, they just never got the chance to shine—the system didn’t expect much of them.

UCLA BenchIn sports we have contracted the concept of substitutes down to “subs.” But to many, their functions in a contest are well understood–give the “starters” a chance to rest, and try not to make a costly mistake. Subs are advised, “Don’t try to score–you’ll just muck things up. Get the picture?” Even a sub’s “place” has a sense of the subservient, the less-good. He or she goes into the game “coming off the bench.” That placement term paints a mental picture of someone released from a stay in purgatory—side-lined, benched. Now finally, if the coach wills it, such a sub-par player is offered a dispensation from inhabiting a place to which the lesser players are relegated or in which they’re stored.

The NCAA Basketball Tournament has just ended. AKA “March Madness,” it typically concludes in April, an April Fool’s joke on anyone in a one-TV family who’s not delightedly wrapped up in the Madness. This year, both the men’s and women’s tournaments were terrific to watch. Unlike most sporting events, the long season before and the structure of the tournament always seem to produce a cadre of teams that have peaked at tournament time. Like most sporting events, each separate game in the tournament writes its own intriguing story line that the press discerns and publicizes, and the country embraces, each armchair player seeing his or her own life story reflected in it to some extent.

KevinTim+Henderson+DePaul+v+Louisville+hdiz0V3_WzMlIn the men’s tournament one of the most powerful stories was the broken leg suffered by Louisville guard Kevin Ware. In the face of this horrific, unusual injury, Ware showed himself to have a remarkably resilient spirit—his was a model of courage. But to me the most remarkable story implicit in the Louisville-Michigan match-up was the role the subs on the Louisville and Michigan teams played in forging their respective successes. Louisville made it to the final game in part on the play of Tim Henderson who hit back-to-back three pointers against Wichita State. Consider this–the last time Tim had been called off the bench and inserted into a game, he took just one shot that did not even hit the rim, yet his teammates trusted him enough in the game against Wichita to throw him the ball! And look at what he did with it!

In the championship game the roles subs played were even more dramatic. When Michigan’s guard Trey Burke, the consensus National Player of the Year, had his second foul called early in the first half, he was replaced by Spike Albrecht. Spike then hit four shots in a row, scoring 15 points in 15 minutes. The announcers could not recall a more impressive performance under tournament conditions. Louisville, then down twelve points, was reeling until substitute Luke Hancock entered the game. Luke scored the game’s next twelve points and Michigan never fully recovered.

Trey BurkeWhat life and business lessons can we take from all of this? What are the story-lines in the actions of Tim Henderson and Spike Albrecht and Luke Hancock we can apply to our own lives off the court?

Luke HancockOrganizational, corporate, and familial teams do not have subs. Rather, the cultural objective of any company is that every employee is fully committed in every quarter and half as an integral part of the team. In great companies no part-time employees receive full pay! Yet, the structure of most all organizations is such that reporting relationships must exist—subordinates all report to managers, and on up the line. We often have “team leaders” and others in support.

However, unless employees lower down in the organization are afforded good and real opportunities to take on challenges that often fall to more senior players, they will never be practiced and ready to take on additional responsibilities later–to compete at a higher level. For example, when subs entered the games I described above, the starters had no discernible reservations about passing them the ball. No reservations in providing the subs an opportunity to score! In one interview, a star player said, “I knew the subs could perform because they showed us that in practice.”

bballTake that player’s comment to heart: Unless you seek out opportunities to slow down and show subordinates your ability, then offer them significant, outcome-critical chances to perform what you showed them and they practiced, how will you prepare them for key games? You’re paying them, so shouldn’t they be as ready to give you as sterling a performance at key times as your star players?

The other team dynamic to remember is how companies often define starters. In most organizations a cultural keynote of how folks are valued centers around the number of reports or departments an individual oversees. What I have found is that in the right positions, sole contributors can be every bit as valuable to an outcome as the leader of scores of people. A perfect example of this arises in research departments. When a person shows him- or herself to be a gifted researcher, he or she is given responsibility for a team of researchers. That is the expected reward. The problem is that a researcher’s gift–intuitive genius–is often best utilized in the lab, not playing on a team, trying to teach, lead, or in other ways share that gift with others.

Remember that in great organizations no one is viewed as a sub, and the culture there makes certain that individuals throughout the organization are prepared to succeed at critical times and in the best, most practiced way they can. Then the team succeeds as well, not just in March or April, but all around the year.

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Perseverance (Galileo had a Brooklyn accent?)

Sometimes in life we are asked to fill bigger shoes than we ever expected. Case in point, this week I was asked to be a stand in for Galileo for my grandson’s science presentation. I’m a “method actor” (ha!) by nature so I wanted to learn all I could about Galileo before I stepped into this epic role. So as would any true actor I researched my subject and came to realize that Galileo is an excellent example of the type of perseverance we’ve been discussing.

Galileo-9305220-1-402Despite the fact that Galileo was laughed at and threatened with torture and/or death, he continued his work and is now considered by many to be the “father of modern science”.

You can learn a little more about Galileo by watching our homemade video. You may surprised to learn Galileo had a very strong Brooklyn accent and that my grandson can time travel – but sometimes it is fun to suspend reality for a few minutes and get a good laugh while thinking a little more about perseverance.

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Bridge Burning in Professional Relationships

St Johns UniversityI recently escorted my wife to her high school reunion in New York City. That sentimental journey was fun and it reminded me of the lifelong friendships we both made at St. John’s University (Go, Red Storm!!), where we met. Relationships don’t adhere to Newton’s Law, though–once you put a relationship in motion it doesn’t necessarily stay in motion. You have to work on maintaining it. Maintaining a nurturing friendship requires effort. And while some relationships still fizzle out, the good ones–the important ones, will endure.

Professional relationships are similar but can be even more challenging. Often we find ourselves working with people we wouldn’t normally choose as friends. Or working with friends we don’t want as co-workers. Situations like these, however, offer us chances to grow in myriad ways as we test our leadership skills—and it’s invariably a test we need to pass!

glass-half-empty-glass-half-full-always-fullNegative individuals draw off our positive energy like magnets! And negativity is as infectious as laughter–it can spread and blight the entire workplace. But employees with practiced negativity can still be helped. Rather than focusing on the glass-half-empty segment of a fellow employee’s personality, focus on the positive. Sometimes you have to dig a deep well to discover a positive bit of consciousness, but it is there!

Once you find it, look for ways to make what is unique about them useful. Perhaps it’s their attention to detail and thoroughness. Perhaps it’s their unflagging “foresight” that resembles, on a rainy Monday morning, an incipient paranoia! Or utilize an employee’s creativity rather than criticizing their lack of structured planning. Someone may be too loud for your liking, but their positive attitude and strong personality can be used, if focused on a project, to raise morale.

Brooklyn BridgeWorking relationships can become strained for all kinds of reasons. However, remember that you never know when and under what circumstances you’ll come upon that person again, so treat them with dignity and respect. My daughter often tells her children “Never burn bridges.” That is extremely wise of her. In fact, one of the highlights of my professional career was hiring the man who inspired me to become a pharmaceutical attorney. He gave a speech to my college class that resonated with me, and I thought, “This is a man I want to know.” He and I worked diligently all those years to keep our bridge in good repair. In fact he came to work with me, so that I was blessed to call him friend until his passing.

When you choose this challenging yet nurturing path for yourself vis à vis your professional relationships, you are choosing to show true humanity at work. In addition, you are creating a better workplace for yourself and the people you work with. That positive energy flowing through the office space goes on, ultimately, to create a more productive and successful organization.

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Have You Flipped the Courage Switch ?

I was not the coolest kid in school, and that’s saying something because it was a pretty low-keyed place. Maybe it was because my overprotective mother worked in the school cafeteria to keep an eye on me. Maybe it was my inability to stop talking in class. The truth is it didn’t bother me because I had my twin brother to play with and my mother thought we walked on water. However there was one thing I couldn’t stand, and that was to be called “Chicken!” No kid wants to be chicken.  We all want to be brave and courageous, like Superman, no fear!

Light Switch OnNow that I’m older, I know sometimes fear is a good thing. Maybe being “chicken” kept me from jumping off the jungle gym and breaking my arm like my youngest daughter once did. I also know the satisfaction of overcoming fear and showing courage! Just like the Cowardly Lion, we are all wired to be at times courageous. We just need to have the….well courage, to flip the switch. It is not a pin or a badge but it is the way we face the everyday fears and obstacles that life throws at us. “Success is not final” wrote Winston Churchill, “[and] failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

This week courage has been on my mind for several reasons. The first was watching Pope Francis face his hundreds of thousands of followers for the first time. Despite his faith, there must have been some fear imbedded in his soul as he contemplated the profound responsibility he assumed.  And he willing shared that fact as he asked the faithful asking in his first appearance to pray for him. Surely an act of courage!

March MadnessAnother reason I’ve been thinking of courage is from watching the prelude to “March Madness”. Countless athletes who put their gifts and shortcomings on public display for everyone to see.  It is much like have a TV camera in your office. How many of us would want our work days turned into a live feed? I suspect for some, shows like Survivor would be mundane by comparison.  By the way, although my beloved St John’s team had a rough patch at the end of the season. the team showed great character and resilience-also courageous traits.

Humanity at WorkIn my book, Humanity at Work: Encouraging Spirit, Achievement and Truth to Flourish in the Workplace and in speaking to groups around the country, I discuss the need for courageous leaders. I encourage you to pay extra attention to the courage you see around you and focus on individuals whose courage you admire.  Think about those leader that has faced adversity with strength and dignity and how you hope to do the same. The really good news is that every such lessons will shape the way you treat others and inspire positive changes in your leadership philosophy.

Remember the next time you start to feel like a “chicken” just to flip the switch and embrace the courage that makes for great leaders.

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We Can Learn Much from Pope Benedict’s Heroic Decision

Pope Benedict XVI, the spiritual leader of 1.2 billion Roman Catholics, surprised the world on Monday, February 11, 2013, by announcing that he will resign at the end of the month. People announce that they’re resigning all the time, yet he is the first pontiff to do so in nearly 600 years. Benedict, following in the line of St. Peter, Christ’s chief disciple, shared with all mankind that he now lacks the strength of body and mind to carry on in his role as pontiff: “[My] strength . . . in the last few months has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me.”

Pope Benedict XVIIn this humble, straightforward message, the Pope showed himself to be an exemplary leader, sending a powerful lesson to religious and secular leaders alike when they themselves face the inescapable question, “When do I step down from the responsibilities that largely constitute the fabric of my life, my persona, and the way that I am defined by society?” Think about this: when you go to a party and a stranger approaches you, what is the first question he/she asks you as a means of getting to know you better? “What do you do?” Defined by our career, our work accomplished daily, and especially by our position in that workplace, we fear that if we resign or retire, we will be nothing.

I have often said that when confronted with formidable issues like retirement vs. staying on, it is easy to be descriptive about the dicey situation, but far more difficult to be prescriptive—saying aloud what you think is the right thing to do in the situation and when to act on that. But the question of what to do when we feel we can no longer continue at a vocation that we cherish may more accurately flip the analysis around. We know the prescription for “inability to perform our duties”—retire, but we have difficulty in describing–coming to grips with the remedy as it applies to ourselves personally, in detail, even though we know intellectually and in general what the correct course of action is.

As I approach the eighth decade of my life, I am still fully engaged in what I love to do. I practice law at a great law firm, lend my guidance to some terrific companies and non-profits, and speak and write on leadership. But there will come a point when my vitality starts to ebb. I hope I will know when I start running out of good ideas! Some continue to be really valued in that role, but others start to run out of good ideas yet stay around the office, not seeing their situation clearly. Of course, countless positions grant lifelong tenures, barring inappropriate conduct. Tenured professors come to mind, as do federal judges, including those sitting on the Supreme Court of the United States. It is not unusual for the court to include several octogenarians. As has the papacy itself, as well as the College of Cardinals.

el-cid-campaeador-Rodrigo-diaz-de-vivar-Then there are those elected officials who come to view their positions as de facto lifetime appointments, something like Papa Doc, “President for Life.” And we the electorate pretty much acquiesce to their expectations. Clearly, some of our political elders still lead vigorous lives, but others remind me of the immortal Castilian military commander Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar. Known as El Cid, he, after his death, is thought to have been secured to his horse to lead his troops into battle. Some folks really do hang on too long, but knowing when to step aside is a complex issue. Our psyche jumps through a lot of hoops as it tries to find an acceptable course of action. Rational and often apparent answers elude us. I don’t know when my moment of reckoning will occur, just as I don’t know when my moment of recognition will occur, telling me in an instant that it’s time to step aside, “to find a new career”! I just hope that at that moment, I have a single grain of the moral, spiritual, and practical wisdom possessed by Pope Benedict. And some self-effacing humor, too! That really helps because the spectre of El Cid, “Dead Man Riding,” is a discouraging role to play, convincingly inspiring the troops, surely, for no more than ONE battle.

In Monday’s talk from the Vatican, Pope Benedict showed himself to be a man of extraordinary courage and one possessed of an even greater measure of humility. Yet, who better than the Vicar of Christ to recognize and demonstrate to us that the Creator does not judge the frailty of His mortal offspring. He leaves that to His children on earth and probably chuckles at our pomposity and lack of restraint in judging others for their natural frailty. You may think that humility is pretty much a given for a Pope and that all must possess that virtue. But our humanity tells us that the need to rise to the pinnacle of any calling can be an intoxicating potion!

Understand, I don’t view setting lofty goals to be an unconfessed sin. In fact, in most ways working toward high achievement is a worthwhile and constructive endeavor. The problem comes when we see our attaining certain titles and responsibilities as being akin to a coronation–much like a royal, we are difficult to dethrone. When the rational brain proposes a discussion of our continued competency at any chosen endeavor, the emotional brain floods the intellect with a turgid sea of defensive rationalizations. Just realize that when the floods come, we need to wall them back with a healthy dose of humility.

deathofsocrates1Historians have long speculated on why the philosopher Socrates did not flee Athens after being wrongly charged with acts against the state and sentenced to take his life. Instead he dutifully drank the penitential hemlock. The noted biographer Paul Johnson writes that Socrates so believed in Athenian democracy that to flee would have gone against his love of that Athenian democracy. Any other response, such as exile, would not, “uphold the dignity and sovereignty of Athenian law,” so he “[was] willing to die as an affirmation of the principles by which he had striven to live.” Socrates subordinated his own life to what he perceived as a greater good. Is it not the same with Benedict?

In acting upon his decision to resign, Benedict also shows himself to completely understand the obligations of his ministry and the essence of the job. On this point my friend Howard Rockett provides an insightful observation: by his resignation Benedict shows he understands that the Pope is most of all the representation of Christ on Earth. While not a biblical scholar, I am unaware of any mention in the gospel of Christ having ever written a letter or authoring any other document.

woman%20healedRather, as the Good Shepherd, he was physically present to his followers as he taught through word and deed. I have often marveled at the effect the Pope has on those fortunate to have stood in his presence. I have spoken to Catholics and non-Catholics alike who consider an audience with the Pope to be one of the most meaningful events in their lives. Like many of you, I watched much of Benedict’s visit to New York City. As he walked through a crowd of the faithful, a woman touched his robe. I can still recall the look of joy on the woman’s face. By traveling to New York, the elderly Pope had, in his physical representation, brought the love and mercy of Christ to individuals in a real, even tactile way, thus inspiring and strengthening that one woman’s faith, just as Christ himself worked and walked among the people as he traveled the Holy Land.

Thus, in an act of astonishing wisdom, Benedict recognized his inability to act as Christ the evangelist did. He recognized that the Pope is not of the people, but must be with the people! And so he resigned, like Socrates, for the greater good of those whom he serves. By doing so, he does not shun his responsibilities but illuminates his fidelity to the papal ministry. The declaration of his limitations is not a defeatist manifesto, but a verbal recognition that by dispassionately assessing our abilities and limitations we show, in humility, the greatest possible strength of character, strength of understanding, and reverence for our responsibilities.

Yes, it is strong and fine to recognize one’s true, undeluded physical and mental abilities and then to act upon the recognition. Remember that Christ, Himself, understanding that “Peter” means “rock,” renamed the man then known as Simon Barjona as the disciples walked on the coast of Caesarea Philippi: “I say also unto thee, That thou are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matt. 16:18). Pope Benedict, then, is an able and insightful—and humble—descendant of St. Peter, the Rock of the faith, and he gives us a living representation of how to be faithful, strong, and authentic as he announces his retirement.

One final point. In lauding Benedict’s decision, I am not by implication claiming that one or more prior pontiffs should have also done so. We all vividly recall the infirmities that gripped Benedict’s predecessor John Paul II, in his final years. Some may have thought that he should have resigned. If so, they miss the point of John Paul’s public exposition of his illness. At that moment John Paul choose as his ministry to display another facet of Christ-like humility. He gave us to realize that even the direct descendant of Peter may be called upon to suffer. His teachings in that respect are both profound and lasting.

As Andrew Nagorski, writing in The Wall Street Journal, says of Benedict’s decision, “There can be no greater tribute to the institution a leader serves than recognizing when the moment has come to step down. That is exactly what Benedict will be remembered for.” The deep and precise wisdom in Benedict’s decision is one all responsible leaders can well consider.

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Finding Compassion, Predictability, and Commitment in the Heat of Battle—An Enlisted Man’s Account from Across the Years

Eugene_sledgeMobile, Alabama, native Eugene Bondurant “Sledgehammer” Sledge (1923-2001) fought with the elite 7th Marine Division. An enlisted man, he was called upon to take part in some of the most vicious fighting in World War II, that in the Pacific. While Civil War General William T. Sherman got to the heart of it with his pithy comment that “War is hell,” from Sledge’s detailed account of the war in the Pacific, that experience was far more hellish than anything Sherman saw.

An enlisted man, Sledge chronicled his experiences in the acclaimed memoir With the Old Breed (Oxford University Press, 1990). My interest in leadership caused me to gravitate to Sledge’s observations of what constitutes a great leader. Some of his most powerful lessons concern his first combat commander, a man revered by his men. Sledge said of Capt. “Ack Ack” Haldane:

Capt Haldane“Although he insisted on strict discipline, the captain was a quiet man who gave orders without shouting. He had a rare combination of intelligence, courage, self-confidence, and compassion that commanded our respect and admiration. We were thankful that Ack Ack was our skipper, felt more secure in it, and felt sorry for other companies not so fortunate. While some officers on Pavuvu thought it necessary to strut or order us around to impress us with their status, Haldane quietly told us what to do. We loved him for it and did the best job we knew how.”

Intelligence, courage, self-confidence, and compassion. Imagine just how that compassion shown by a commander in WWII combat appeared to his men. Some of us think that compassion equates to weakness. No, indeed. The really great leaders understand that compassion is a foundational trait. It must be learned, practiced, and taught to others. For compassion in a leader is an announcement to all in his/her sphere of influence that he/she is human.

A leader’s compassion practiced and demonstrated over days and months becomes a key role-modeling vehicle for co-workers to imitate, acting out humanely when daily operational tasks are set aside in the face of critical situations, those demanding urgent decisions—on any battlefield of their lives.

That almost everyone, all leaders included, come equipped with many of the same behavioral weaknesses that those in their charge have is proof that mistakes should be avoided but are not avoidable. That’s predictable, but with practice and awareness of the need to practice, leaders and “soldiers” alike, are able to act with deathless understanding—compassion—when it is needed in everyday and urgent situations in the field and on the job.

ww2Sledge goes on to say that, “Our company commander represented stability and direction in a world of violence, death and destruction.” Few of us will be called upon to lead others in a war zone with the threat of death on every hand. But much happens daily in any organization that becomes our version of a mortal combat with great human, financial, and material consequences if the conflict is not prosecuted successfully. That’s where a leader’s stability becomes as critical to communicate and to use as compassion.

Several years ago I was asked to give one key attribute of a great leader. I answered “predictability.” The interviewer, somewhat taken aback, said “Well, I’ve never considered that value. . . .” Yet haven’t we all worked for unpredictable individuals? Around such individuals in the midst of turmoil your unconscious is fearful and unsure, feeling “What in the world will he say and do next?” Not much of a security “guard” in difficult times, is a leader like that—an unpredictable one. As I have often said, a great leader must be the calm eye of the hurricane, not the leading edge, packing remorseless winds and a devastating storm surge in his/her destructive and unpredictable path. As you know, since 1979, North Atlantic hurricanes are named alternately for men and women! What does that suggest?

With the Old BreedIn With the Old Breed, readers learn that Sledge’s commander, Captain Haldane, was killed in heavy combat on the island of Peleliu in September of 1944. In the midst of his grief, Sledge wrote that “[Losing Haldane] was like losing a parent we depended upon for security – not our physical security, because we knew that was a commodity beyond our reach in combat, but our mental security.”

Leading others (and ourselves) is really hard work. The reason for this difficulty is that we are the most complex of all the Lord’s creations. But what we need is often quite simple for continuing well in what we do: respect in the eyes of others. That respect Capt. Haldane was given is ensured leaders, however, only by their demonstrating predictably three key behaviors: compassion for co-workers every day and in the most severe circumstances alike; predictable understanding that co-workers need to feel emotionally secure at work as strongly as they know they are physically secure at their desks; and the leader’s prime commitment to the hard work of being a leader, just as Capt. Haldane showed E.B. Sledge and the others in their unit that he was committed to the battle till the end.

If those three pledges to employees are met to the letter and the spirit, the rewards can be majestic in the degree of respect and devotion great leaders discover in the heat of battle.

Thanks to my editor Linda W Hobson Ph.D. for her contribution to this essay.

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A True Hero – Stan “The Man” Musial of the St. Louis Cardinals

Stan Musial died today.  Certainly one of the most beloved and iconic players in the history of major league baseball. In June 2011 we published the following essay about the great man.

Stan the man2I have never bought into Leo Durocher’s dictum that “nice guys finish last.”  As a major league manager Leo should have known better, as his teams played against Stan “The Man” Musial of the St. Louis Cardinals.

It is great news that George Vecsey recently published a biography on the great man (Stan Musial An American Life, ESPN/Ballentine Books 2011)

Unfortunately, even with his Hall of Fame statistics-a lifetime batting average of .331 and nearly 2000 RBIs, Musial did not receive the approbation reserved for the stars who played on east or west coast teams.  While St. Louis is a great baseball town, it simply isn’t a mega media hub.  Moreover, Stan Musial was not a controversial guy.  He didn’t have an incendiary personality that attracts press coverage or an over the top life style. He was simply a gifted athlete who is also a kind and decent man.  When I speak on the attributes of heroes, my audience nods in agreement when I observe that we always feel better just being in the presence of great women and men.  One  Musial team-mate said that you could “feel” his presence in a room; that when he was near, you knew everything would be alright.

Blue_Super_Nova_Wallpaper_2mr1rWhen I was growing up there were no so-called “Super Stars.”  Surely there were “stars” but to us kids all major leaguers were already special, different from the rest of us in ways exceptional.  Perhaps we really do suffer from some sort of cultural excess that spawned additional gradients of stardom.  Could it be we’ll soon coin the term “Nova.” for super, super stars?  Better still, how about “Super Nova” as they radiate an even more intense light.  Put another way, the notion of celebrity has in many ways been turned on its ear.  Celebrity is an affectation of the press.  Most often it has no relationship to competency, work ethic, integrity or faith-the values that make some of us truly great. That’s why reflections on people such as Stan Musial are meaningful. They serve as instruments to maintain and sometimes repair our societal fabric.

I actually have a Stan Musial story.  In 1986 Jean and I were visiting friends at Cooperstown, New York over the weekend when several inductees would enter The Baseball Hall of Fame. Of course Stan Musial had long before been so honored. Naturally, many baseball notables would be in attendance.

Stan in CartOn the day before the ceremony, I was playing golf at the local golf course.  At about 8:00 a.m. I was walking down a fairway that ran parallel to a small dirt road.  Standing on the road were about 20 people; men, women and several small children.  Many had donned the baseball caps and the jackets of their favorite teams. Most held pads and pens.  Curious, I asked a nearest man to me why they were standing there?  He smiled and said, “We heard that Stan Musial might be playing golf here today and we didn’t want to miss the chance to see him and get an autograph”!  I often thought about that scene and one day realized that imbedded in that encounter was an important teaching.  Those early morning fans knew that if Stan Musial walked by their vigil would be rewarded.  They accepted as an article of faith that he would most certainly stop.

As you probably know the current St. Louis star is Albert Pujols. Possibly the best player in the game, he is also known as a kind and compassionate man.  As his fame grew, some Cardinal fans began to call him “El Hombre”.  While surely grateful, Pujols reminded his fans that in St. Louis there is only one man –  and that man is Stan.

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