Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Bill Buckner and the Curse of the Great Bambino -- What You Say is What You Get -- by Chris Coltran

Being that the World Series is almost here, I thought it was an appropriate time to share a story of a person who actually predicted the future in the 1986 World Series.  Most people know of the story of the Boston Red Sox first baseman who allowed a ball through his legs, to which most fans blamed for the Red Sox losing the series.  What you don't know is how his very own words came back to haunt him.

William Joseph Buckner, born December 14, 1949, played for five Major League Baseball teams during his career.  In 1980, Buckner was the National League batting champion.  He also represented the National League in the 1981 All-Star game.  Sadly, Buckner is most remembered for his fielding error in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series against the New York Mets.   What happened in that inning was so out of the ordinary, so odd, so unbelievable, it's amazing to know that what happened during that routine groundball had been predicted only 19 days earlier on television.  Bill Buckner's own words came back to haunt him, his teammates, and the city of Boston for 18 more years until Boston finally won the Series in 2004.

Born in Vallejo, California, Buckner was a two sport athlete, playing both football and baseball. After graduating from high school, Buckner was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the second round of the 1968 Major League Baseball Draft.   Buckner first played in the Majors in 1969 at the age of 19.  He played in one game against the San Francisco Giants on September 21.  The following season he was sent back down to the minors. After hitting well in the minors he was called back up to play for the Dodgers in September 1970. His performance in September and October earned him a starting job with the Dodgers in 1971.  His most famous moment as a Dodger came when he climbed the fence in an attempt to catch Hank Aaron's record setting 715th home run. 

In 1977, Buckner was traded to the Chicago Cubs. He had a lot of personal success while playing for the Cubs. While in Chicago, Buckner was the 1980 and now batting champion and also represented the Cubs in 1981 All-Star game.  In 1984, Buckner was traded to the Boston Red Sox. It was in Boston where Bill Buckner would learn that what you say is what you get.  He played every game for Boston in 1985.  In the 1986 season Buckner was having a great year. In September he hit .340 (That means 34% for you non-baseball fans, which believe it or not is very good in terms of batting percentage.  Never mind that if you got a 34% on a test it would be an F.)  Buckner also had over 100 RBI’s (Runs Batted In) in 1985 and 1986.  Buckner also made the hit to start the ninth inning rally when Boston defeated the California Angels to make it to the World Series.  Without that hit by Buckner in the ninth inning, Boston would have been watching the World Series on television.

Bill Buckner’s exact words during an October 6, 1986 interview on WBZ-TV by reporter Don Shane were:

“The dreams are that you’re gonna have a great series and win. The nightmares are that you’re gonna let the winning run score on a ground ball through your legs. Those things happen, you know. I think a lot of it is just fate.”

THE CURSE OF THE GREAT BAMBINO

That fateful day when Bill Buckner’s words would haunt him was October 25, 1986, Game 6 of the World Series, bottom of the 10th inning.  Boston had the lead when Mookie Wilson hit a dribbler to Buckner at first base. Buckner, knowing the quick speed of Mookie, tried to rush the play.  In doing so, the ball rolled right through his legs and into right field, allowing the winning run to score.  All he had to do was make a routine ground ball play, tag first base and the game was over.  Boston would have been World Series Champions.  That was not to be.  Bill Buckner's words spoken just 19 days earlier had come true. What a nightmare. 

What You Say is What You Get.

The season following the World Series, Buckner was released by the Boston Red Sox. He went on to play for the California Angels and the Kansas City Royals before being re-signed by Boston in 1990.  The Boston fans did give him a standing ovation at the home opener in 1990. Two months later, Bill Buckner retired from Major League Baseball.  Buckner didn't return to the Boston Red Sox until the home opener on April 8, 2008, where he threw out the opening pitch, and received a standing ovation from the home crowd.  Buckner retired from the sport he loved, and moved to Idaho. He stayed away from the game until 2011 when he managed the Brockton Rox, a member of the Canadian-American Association of Professional Baseball.  In 2012, Buckner became the hitting instructor for the Boise Hawks, a Cubs affiliate.

If Bill Bunkner could do that interview over again, I bet he never would have said those words.  He said in that interview that those things are just “fate.”  He put that energy out there in the universe and it only took 19 days to have the stars line up for him and for those fateful words to come true.   Boston blamed Buckner and the Curse of the Bambino for Boston losing the World Series.  (The Curse of the Bambino was the superstition that explained why after the Red Sox sold Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees in 1919, that the Red Sox stopped winning titles.   Before Babe Ruth was sold, the Red Sox had won 5 titles.   After the sale, the Yankees went on to become one of the most successful teams in professional sports history, while the Red Sox hadn’t won another title since.  I find it interesting that the curse took 86 years to break [2004-1918=86] and Bill Buckner’s error happened in ’86)

Bill Buckner found out the hard way that, "What You Say Is What You Get."

Chris Coltran is based in Acworth, GA. He is the author of the book, “Selling To Your Grandmother,” and President of C2 Unlimited. He has worked in manufacturing, distribution, wholesale, and retail, as well as being a sales and marketing consultant to various companies. Chris is a motivational speaker, having spoken to various groups in the floor covering, furniture, automotive, and service industries. He is also an entrepreneur helping other entrepreneurs become successful. For more information or to contact Chris, he can be found on the web at: www.chriscoltran.com and via email at: chris@chriscoltran.com

Monday, October 14, 2013

Not Everyone Deserves a Trophy -- by, Chris Coltran

Every time you turn around, someone is trying to make life more fair.  Trying to make sure that there are only winners and no losers.  Life isn't fair. There will always be winners and there will always be losers. Period.  What would be the point of a competition if everyone always won?  If everyone always took first place? If everyone got a blue ribbon? If everyone got a trophy?  If everyone won a gold medal?  That's not life. That's fantasy land. Since when did everyone get a raise?  Since when did everyone get that promotion?  Since when did everybody get their dream job? Since when did every entrepreneur have success?  That is just not the way life is.  I defined success in my first book as, “Running from failure to failure with a smile on your face.”

Both of my boys have played youth sports since they were 5 years old.  They first started playing baseball. There were two leagues that we could have played in. One was a noncompetitive league, where they didn't keep score. There were no winners and no losers. In this league everyone was a winner.  There were no strikeouts, and everyone got to hit in each inning. As soon as each kid was done hitting, the other team got their turn. There were no outs.  For some parents who didn’t like competition, this was perfect.  They wouldn't have to teach their kids about winning and losing. I'm sure these are the same type of parents who have petitioned schools all over the country to get rid of dodgeball. Probably the same parents who are against schools having an honor roll too. They don't think it's fair that some kids get recognized as being smart, and other kids are labeled as being dumb.  They want every kid to get a participant ribbon or a trophy.  They want everyone to win!

The baseball league we chose to play in was a recreational, competitive league.  Now remember, the kids are only five, so they did let them have six strikes before it was considered an out.  The first four strikes are balls that were pitched by the coach. If they missed the first four, then the coach set up a T for the kids to hit from.  They had two more swings at the ball from the T. If they missed those, it was a strikeout. It was never any fun to see a five-year-old strikeout, but it did happen. They weren't scarred for life. Sure they were upset for a few minutes, but before you know it they forgot all about.  When the team made three outs in the field, the inning was over.  They did limit the amount of runs scored in an inning.  At the end of the game, there was a winner and a loser.  Most times it was more upsetting to the parents whether their kids won or lost than it was to the kids themselves.  As my boys have grown older and started playing other sports like football and lacrosse, winning has become more important.

Winning and losing is a part of life. The sooner kids learn that they're not going to win at everything they do, the much more prepared they will be for life. Parents want to protect their children, and as a parent, I completely understand. But protecting your children is not the same as sheltering them. I want to protect my children. I want to make sure that nothing bad ever happens to them. I want to make sure they make the right friends, that they get good grades, and that they treat their friends with respect.  What parent wouldn't want that?  But when it comes to sports, they have to know that there are going to be winners and losers. Every time they play a game they need to know that they might not win. Some kids have a hard time losing. Especially when they start playing with friends as they get older. By their parents always allowing them to win, they can't handle losing.  These kids grow up being very sore losers. They grow up with a false sense of reality.  They grow up thinking they are always going to be a winner.  I don't completely blame the kid. I blame the parents. I blame the system.

I enjoy watching the Olympics every other year with my family. Whether it is the winter or the summer games, my family gathers around the television throughout the games to watch the competitions.  The Olympics is the ultimate sports competition.  As athletes from around the world compete against each other to see who becomes an Olympic champion, it doesn't get any better than that. Each athlete has an incredible story of perseverance.  They have all had challenges in their life they have had to overcome to become an Olympic athlete.  The years of sacrifice, training, and blood sweat and tears to make it to the Olympic stage is an awesome feat in itself. If there was ever a time that everyone deserved a medal, it would be the Olympics. But everyone knows they only give out one gold, one silver, and one bronze for each event. There is only one national anthem played at a medal ceremony. Thank goodness those parents, who think that all children deserve a trophy, aren’t on the Olympic competition committee. If everyone got a medal, what would be the point?  The drama and the excitement would be gone.  The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat would not exist.

I have found that the only way to get better at anything is to make sure you compete against good competition.  If you always take 1st place, you will not challenge yourself.  You won’t push yourself.  You won’t put in the practice or the effort needed to get better.  If you always landed every job you have ever interviewed for, you are not challenging yourself.  You are applying for jobs below your expertise.  You need competition.  You don’t learn much taking first place.  When everyone is behind you, you aren’t forcing yourself to improve.  When you get beat, and don’t finish on the top of the podium, you learn.  When you are chasing someone from behind, you learn to get better.  You learn to get faster.  You learn to get smarter.  If you always win, you get complacent.  You get comfortable.  It is only when someone beats you that you get better.  


Competition needs winners and losers.  It is natural.  It is the way life is.  It is the way life has always been.  It is the way life will always be.  The sooner people learn this concept, the better off they will be prepared for the journey of life.  If you succeed at everything you do in life, you are not trying hard enough.  You are not stepping outside of your comfort zone far enough.  Get out there and fail.  Make sure you fail in the right direction.  Learn from your failures and become stronger from them.  If you fail enough, you will probably win a few trophies along the way.

Chris Coltran is based in Acworth, GA. He is the author of the book, “Selling To Your Grandmother,” and President of C2 Unlimited. He has worked in manufacturing, distribution, wholesale, and retail, as well as being a sales and marketing consultant to various companies. Chris is a motivational speaker, having spoken to various groups in the floor covering, furniture, automotive, and service industries. He is also an entrepreneur helping other entrepreneurs become successful. For more information or to contact Chris, he can be found on the web at: www.chriscoltran.com and via email at: chris@chriscoltran.com

Friday, October 11, 2013

Too Much Homework - by, Chris Coltran

Why are kids having so much homework given to them in grade school and middle school?  I remember when I was a kid I hardly ever had homework.  I made good grades in all my classes.  This week on just about every talk show on television the pundits have been talking about the amount of homework kids are
doing on a nightly basis.  Why?  I have kids in both grade school and middle school and I also believe they have too much work to complete at home after school.  After a full day of school, from 7:15 am to 2:10 pm, my grade school student is worn out.  My middle school student goes to school from 8:45 am to 4:10 pm.  That is a long day and almost dinner time by the time he gets home.  They have both had a full day and it’s no wonder they want to come home and decompress.  They want to play video games, they want to play with their friends, or they just want to watch television.  They have almost put in the same amount of hours in a week as most people do with a full time job.  When you get home from work do you want to spend another hour or two doing the work you couldn’t complete while you were on the clock?  I sure don’t.

Take math for instance.  Have you helped your child with their math lately?  I was an excellent math student and have always been very good with numbers.  I have never had a problem figuring problems and solving them.  The way we were taught worked just fine.  We learned long division, multiplication, addition and subtraction, algebra, probability, statistics, story problems, etc.  The methods we learned were tried and true and still work today.  They work, but if you show your kids how you learned it, it completely different than how they are being taught today.  I have had to relearn the methods being taught to kids today just to be able to help my boys with their math homework.  They tell me that my way does work but we aren’t allowed to do it that way.  They have to do it some new way that they are teaching!  What was wrong with the old way?  Did someone get bored and say that was too easy, and they had to come up with something new?  Some new method that is confusing and half the time doesn’t make sense?  They can get the right answer, but if you didn’t follow the new method, it is wrong.  In life, it doesn’t matter how you get the answer, as long as you get it right.

In science or history, many times I want to Google the answer but the kids are being told not to trust Google for the right answers.  I understand you can’t trust that something on the internet is true, but when you are on government sponsored websites and other education websites, it is pretty safe to assume that the information is accurate.  You can’t really trust Wikipedia, as anyone can post information on a particular subject.  But let’s face it, most times when we want to know something, we simply grab our iPhone and Google it.  More often than not the information you are researching is accurate.  The teaching methods in the classroom are one thing, but the homework issue is another.

One of our teachers told her students she doesn’t care about extra-curricular activities outside of the classroom.  She thinks every kid should read 30 minutes a night regardless of the amount of homework each evening.  The fact is that kids have numerous activities outside of school.  Football, baseball, lacrosse, soccer, piano, ballet, dance, drama, and the list goes on and on.  I believe it is important that a child participate in these activities outside of school for a number of reasons.  First, kids don’t get enough physical activity at school anymore.  Gym classes are limited to one or two days a week, and recess is only about 20 minutes for grade school.  Middle school doesn’t even have recess except on Fridays.  When I was a kid, I remember lunch being long enough that you could eat your lunch and then head out to the school yard for at least another 30 minutes.  Second, kids don’t have any time to just be able to socialize with their classmates.  They have assigned seats at lunch and they don’t have any time after lunch to hang out.  When did things change so much that schools don’t have time to let kids socialize and have some fun.  All work and no play can lead to a very boring life.  Third, music programs are not what they used to be in all schools, and many districts have had to cut back on both music and art classes.  This doesn’t mean that there are fewer kids out there with those God given talents of music and art.  It just means that in order to get more direction and education in those areas, they have to do them after school.  It makes it very difficult and stressful to find the time to participate in these things when the kids have so much homework. 

When it comes to the material they are being taught in class, it is much more complex than it was twenty years ago.  Have we really changed that much as a species over the last 20 years?  I don’t think so.  What has changed is that technology has made the world a much faster paced environment.  If you call someone and they don’t answer, we text them and expect a return text in a matter of seconds.  We have become a society of, “I want it right NOW!”  I don’t want to wait for a few minutes, a few hours, or God forbid wait until tomorrow to get an answer.  It used to take days to get responses through the mail, and now we get instant responses from anywhere in the world in a matter of seconds.

The world has changed, but what hasn’t changed are the children.  They are the same as we were when we were kids.  We didn’t have the stresses and the worries that kids have today.  School was a fun place and was enjoyable to attend.  Today, kids have to be medicated at an alarming rate just so they can focus on everything they have to get done each day.  When did we stop letting kids be kids?  They are going to spend most of their life working once they reach adulthood so why do we want to get them there so fast?  Let’s let them be kids.  Let’s let them have fun.  Let them learn the art of communication by allowing them the opportunity to interact and be social.  Let’s stop giving them so much homework and treating them like they are older than they are.  You don’t have to prepare a kid for the next grade.  They need to be taught for the grade they are in.  They will figure out next year when they get there.  Encourage them through positive reinforcement.  Don’t be so quick to mark up their paper just for sake of doing it.  And next time you are going to give them homework, ask yourself if it is really that necessary.


Chris Coltran is based in Acworth, GA. He is the author of the book, “SellingTo Your Grandmother,” and President of C2 Unlimited. He has worked in manufacturing, distribution, wholesale, and retail, as well as being a sales and marketing consultant to various companies. Chris is a motivational speaker, having spoken to various groups in the floor covering, furniture, automotive, and service industries. He is also an entrepreneur helping other entrepreneurs become successful. For more information or to contact Chris, he can be found on the web at: www.chriscoltran.com and via email at: chris@chriscoltran.com