Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Greg Maddux: "How Good Can You Be?"

Greg Maddux, one of the celebrity athletes who played in the 2014 American Century Championship Golf Classic July 16-20, 2014 was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame just one week later. To look at Maddux, you wouldn't think it to be true, especially wehn I saw him standing next to any of the other pitchers in the tourney—like Mark Mulder or Derek Lowe. Known as "Mr. Peepers" his size and stature is makes little to no impression. But his accomplishments on the mound and his speech certainly do.
Inducted with former teammate Tom Glavine and of course "the Big Hurt."
Mike Marteny writes "Maddux was a second round draft pick of the Chicago Cubs in 1984, and made his major league debut in September of 1986.  He went on to win 355 games with a 3.16 ERA and 3,371 strikeouts in his 23 year career with the Cubs, Braves, Dodgers, and Padres.  Maddux won 15 games or more in an astonishing 17 straight seasons, and was the catalyst behind the Braves’ dominance in the 1990′s."

Obviously, athletes are inducted for personal accomplishments in their sport. But sports hall of fame induction ceremonies, and I've been to a lot of them, reference a little more than the wins and losses, records broken, etc. Said events are charged with emotion and gratitude; each one typically contains a kernel of wisdom or a moment of grace. Maddux's was no exception. After thanking both of his parents, older brother Mike, former teammates and coaches he said: 
AKA "Mad Dog"
[Former Cubs pitching coach] Billy Connors asked, 'Do you ever wonder how good you can be?'" Maddux said. "Of course, I said, 'No.' He said, 'Why don't you go out there and find out?' I've been trying to find the answer to that question every day since."

What a great question: How good can you be? I love the question as much as I love the fact his coach asked him to consider the answer.

Has anyone ever asked you that question? Have you asked it of yourself? What if we all did? What if we each considered how good we could be in any area or domain we are passionate about? What if we invited those we care about to do the same? How good of a student? How good of a coach? How good of a friend? an athlete? a spouse? a colleague? an artist? 

What I also appreciate is that Maddux does not answer this question. Instead he reveals that it is one that he has lived with. The quest for the answer—success or goodness—fueled the journey. The destination? Well obviously Cooperstown is one of those. Not a bad one.

Thank you Greg Maddux for this life lesson, for my first memory of you as someone Will Clark got a hit off of in the 1989 NLCS (for the win!) and you're right when you said "those of us play this great game and make a living at it are all extremely lucky." Luck, support of family and good mentors and a very important question as well.

Photo Credits

No comments:

Post a Comment