You may have heard of Ted Williams. He was one of the greatest baseball players who ever lived. He still maintains one of the highest life-time batting averages in professional baseball history. His average of batting .406 is remarkable by any standards.
Ted Williams played for the Boston Red Sox, but his career was interrupted by World War II when he became a pilot for the United States and defended our country. Who knows what his record would have been had he not lost some of the prime years of his life and career because of his military service? I still respect the fact that he was more concerned with the freedom of America than he was about his own personal safety or advancement. He was a remarkable individual!
On the final day of his baseball career in the 1960 season, his batting average was .401. His manager was concerned that if he should have a bad day on the field he would end his career under the .401 mark. That thought caused him to consider keeping Williams out of the game. Actually, it was a double-header that Boston was playing against a rival team. Ted Williams would hear none of it. He wanted to do everything he could to help his team win and to give his best performance. That day, during the double-header, Williams had one of his finest performances. He had 6 hits in 8 at-bats and, as stated previously, he ended his career with a life-time batting average of .406. And get this: in his final at bat that day, at 42 years of age, he hit a home run! I would say he certainly deserves the title of being one of the greatest players who ever lived and it was in great part due to his attitude, “Go on – take a chance!”
Perhaps you remember Abby Sunderland. She was the 16-year old girl, at the time, who tried to sail around the world from Del Ray Yacht Club in Marina del Rey, California. For many days, she was feared lost at sea. Finally, she was found in the Southern Indian Ocean by Australian rescuers. Abby’s father, Laurence Sunderland, was criticized for allowing his 16-year old daughter to take this risky trip around the world alone. His response was pretty strong: “Sailing, and life in general, is dangerous. Teen-agers drive cars. Does that mean that teen-agers shouldn’t drive a car?!” He went on to tell the Associated Press, “I think people who hold that opinion have lost their zeal for life. They’re living in a cotton-wool tunnel to make everything safe.” Sounds like to me that his daughter, Abby, is a chip off the ol’ block! You see, both she and her father had the attitude, “Go on – take a chance!”
I certainly do not think that we should live a life that is unsafe or dangerous. I am not talking about being unwise and doing something stupid that could cost you your life, your health or personal relationships. However, I am talking about being willing to step out and do things that you have never done before. I am sure that you have heard that when people in retirement centers and nursing homes are asked the question, “What are your greatest regrets in life?” the answers given almost always reflect something that they wish they had tried to do rather than something they did wrong. You see, as they look back and reflect on life they are thinking that they should have had the attitude of, “Go on – take a chance!”
I do not know what circumstances you may be facing today, nor do I know what lies in your future. However, I am confident from my own personal experience and from talking to those who are some of my closest and dearest friends that it is always better to try and fail than not to try at all! Plus, you will earn great experience in the process!
Ted Williams, Abby Sunderland, and her father Laurence Sunderland all had that attitude, and I have that attitude as well. I know that I am not in the same league with those people, but I do know I aspire to have a life that matters. It is not enough to simply exist. And, I am confident that you want to be that kind of person as well!
Tip: Go on – take a chance!
Have a great week! God bless you!
Dr. Robert A. Rohm