This piece was published a couple of days ago at the M Street Softball League website. Since I can't expect you to be as much of a mens fast-pitch softball nut as I am, I'm assuming you may not have seen it there. I think it makes a good point, and I've been told by many of my fellow players that they agree with the sentiments expressed. So, here it is and I hope you enjoy it.
With the accumulated wisdom that comes from having been on this planet for 57 years, I decided to play in three mens fast-pitch softball leagues this year. I think I mentioned that I'm 57 years old? What I haven't told you yet is that I'm a catcher. My knees write nasty letters to my brain after each game. They say, "What were you thinking? Next time, use yourself!" My brain ignores them, of course, because it's just a knee-jerk reaction.
Anyway, these aren't "over 50" leagues I'm in. They're mostly populated by guys in their twenties and thirties; folks who are at least relatively in shape and, unlike me, don't need a calendar to time them when they run the bases. The interesting thing is two of my teams are in their first year of existence and I was actually recruited to play on those two teams (I've been a member of the other team for 20 years.)
Obviously, 57-year-old catchers with balky knees are not usually in high demand. I also have a torn rotator cuff, so my arm stinks. In addition, my batting average drops closer to my weight with each passing year. So, why did the guys who run those two teams ask me to be a part of them (I mean, aside from my sparkling personality?) It's because I show up.
Showing up is the most important thing you can do in some of life's endeavors. If you can be relied upon, that makes up for many a sin. No matter what other problems a coach may have, he knows he can always count on me being there. That's important. Lots of better players in these leagues don't always show up. Sure, if you put me up against some of those guys, both of us available to play, you'd put the other guy on the field and I'd (rightly) take a seat on the pine. But I'm always there. When that other guy doesn't show up, I'm ready to go. That's why coaches still consider me valuable at my ancient-for-ball age. I show up.
There are folks in every walk of life who do the same. They show up, every day, ready to give it their best shot. Most of them do so in much tougher circumstances than being a softball bum like me. They push a broom, lug stuff, clean floors and do the dirty work. They flip burgers, drive deliveries, dig ditches and haul crates from one end of the warehouse to another. They show up and do the job. Ask any employer how highly they value that trait. It might be the first thing on the list. Hell, if you don't show up, what value do you bring to the table? None. You aren't even at the table.
If you're one of those folks who does the tough jobs, keep that in mind. Showing up will pay off. It might not reward you immediately, but it will earn you respect sooner or later. I've never been the best player on any team for which I've played, but of all my teammates from thirty years ago I'm the only one still playing - and still being asked to play. It's because I show up.
And I'll be showing up here again, soon, with more better stuff.