I chose to write this post not only because I am an unbelievably biased and crazed Yankee fan, but because Derek Jeter sets a standard for athletes that few can replicate. If I ever had the opportunity to meet Derek it would truly be a dream come true. I doubt I will ever meet him and I also doubt he will ever read this. I am only writing this because I have the utmost respect for the guy. He has been the superstar that I have admired since I was a young kid. Not only is he a superstar between the whites, but he achieves greatness off the field as well. At the young age of 22, Derek started his “Turn 2 Foundation” in hopes of making a difference in the lives of young kids. The main focus of the foundation is to promote healthy lifestyles for youngsters and to keep them free of drugs and alcohol. Now, what’s in it for him? The guy has more money than I can comprehend, and here he is taking time out of his busy lifestyle to give back to society. Derek makes contributions out of his own pocket in addition to the charity events he hosts every year. He also opened the Derek Jeter Academy in Florida, which is a center for teens struggling with drug and alcohol abuse. He obviously doesn’t do all this for fame and fortune, he has that already. He does it because he strongly believes in making a difference in the lives of others. This is a characteristic that goes way beyond the baseball field.
Derek Jeter was, and still is, the guy I want to emulate. Even if you are not a Jeter fan, fine, but how can you dismiss his efforts off the field? This is a prime example that people get what they want by helping OTHERS get what they want. His athletic ability and accomplishments have easily guaranteed him a spot in the baseball Hall of Fame, but his mental toughness and character definitely played a huge part in his athletic career. Have you ever heard of Jeter getting into any trouble? I haven’t, and I don’t think you, or I, ever will. He’s got a solid head on his shoulders and makes great decisions. Derek sets the bar very high for all athletes, not just baseball players. I can also say with much confidence that, being a baseball player, he has also had his share of failure. Nobody can make every play, get every hit, make every right decision, or go through life without making mistakes. The key is to keep moving forward and learn as you go. Life is a learning experience and like athletics, you win some, you lose some, but have fun and enjoy the ride.
You don’t have to be a multi-million dollar athlete to help others or make contributions. Everyone has the power, and the ability, to help guide young kids along their journey regardless of athletic ability. This is why coaching is so important to me. I am obviously not Derek Jeter, Michael Jordan, or Joe Montana, but I can teach kids about the game and hopefully nudge them in the right direction. From a coaching standpoint, if I can make a difference in one kids life, then I have done my job. I commend “Jeet” for everything he does, and especially for all of his big hits in the playoffs. Sorry, had to throw that in there. Like I said, I am a Yankee freakazoid and it’s hard to suppress it sometimes.
Daily excercise: Whether you are an athlete, coach, manager, or employee somewhere, do something to help a fellow teammate or colleague accomplish something. It doesn’t have to change the World, but big or small, it makes a difference.
Thanks again for the inspiration Derek, and keep doing what you do best. DJ3KALLDAY!