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Carl's Corner: No Player Left Behind

Dec. 1, 2013 – Carl Gustafson CA Regional Tri-Director (San Diego)

Remember when politicians jumped on the “No child left behind” school slogan bandwagon? To not be for it would have been political suicide.

But the reality was, is, and always has been that lots of children are left behind.

Some of them so far behind they drop out of school, end up in prison, or dead. Some who hold a high school diploma can’t even read or write.

Here’s the untenable concept: If you make sure no child is behind, then you have to hold back everybody in front of the last child—and that’s not going to happen, and didn’t happen.

Because some students put their nose to the grindstone and others don’t.

For many years I’ve watched some among us spend prodigious energy on trying to win via bellyaching about unfair rules and policies.

But in case you haven’t noticed, regardless of rules, some teams still win a lot and others lose a lot; some drop out; some reform and start over.

There’s a reason for this and it has little to do with legislation. It has a lot to do with effective practice and focused commitment.

The best sluggers in our game work the hardest at perfecting their technique, almost without exception. For them, the thought of not going out to a vacant field and hitting many dozens of balls every week — is simply not an option.

For example, Clyde “Poindexter” Phillips, invented a machine that holds softballs on air pressure where he hits them into an indoor net on his lunch break at work, by the dozens, every day.

So softball is like anything else in life.

Achievement goes to those who are willing to work, to sacrifice, to focus. If your off-tournament regimen consists of sitting in front of a TV, eating pizza, drinking beer, growing fatter and slower by the day, complaining about your increasing list of ailments, that’s fine—but then be content to come in second, or third, or last.

But don’t belch mightily, scratch your swollen tummy, and then lobby to make rules against achievers so you won’t be left behind.

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