Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The career of Derek Jeter and youth sports

By Steve Kallas (posted by Rick Morris)

So, what do we take away from the brilliant career of Derek Jeter as it relates to youth sports?  Well, here are a couple of quotes from Jeter’s Yankee Stadium press conference before his final home game on Thursday, September 25, 2014.

After admitting that many players have more talent than he has, Derek Jeter said, “I don’t think anyone played harder.  I don’t.  Maybe just as hard.”  Later, he said, “Every single day I went out I tried to have respect for the game and play it as hard as I possibly could.”

For you big-time, old-time Yankee fans, Jeter’s quotes are a reminder of a quote from one of the greatest ball players ever:  Joe DiMaggio.  When asked, towards the end of his great career, about why he played so hard in a meaningless game, DiMaggio said, “Because there is always some kid who may be seeing me for the first time.  I owe him my best.”


Well, in a world where many players think it’s optional to run hard to first or where some players think it’s cool to stand at home and admire a ball they hit (which may or may not go out), it means that right from wrong dictates that you play hard all the time, that you always respect the game, that you never give up.

For Derek Jeter, it was never all about the “Flip” play, or Mr. November, or being number six on the all-time hits list, or even about five rings.  For Derek Jeter, it’s about playing hard, respecting the game and never giving up.  THAT’S what young people should take away from the career of Derek Jeter.

And that’s what you parents should impress upon your young children about the career of Derek Jeter. 

In a world where most athletes try and make the game about themselves and try to draw attention to themselves, it was Derek Jeter who deflected the attention and only wanted to do one thing: help his team win.  And, by playing hard, by respecting the game, and by never giving up, that’s exactly what he did for 20 years.

In the look-at-me 21st Century, thank goodness we all got a chance to watch Derek Jeter play baseball.


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