The following note was something I had shared with my children around the time of
Mariano Rivera’s retirement. It’s a bit off the beaten path, but I felt compelled to share. Enjoy!
Unfortunately, it’s not all that often that we can look to sports to find people we can respect and learn from, which is a true shame, because it is a career path that has the ability to spotlight those who are dedicated to doing things the right way over a long period of time – rather than just a flash-in-the-pan that is so often the focus in our social-networking world. But during the baseball All-Star game, a historic moment took place that was in honor of a worthy man named Mariano Rivera, who has quietly proven himself to be “the best ever” at his career over the long-haul (not just in one lucky moment).
He is 43 years old, tore his ACL in his knee and couldn’t play last year, but was determined that that was not how he would enter retirement from baseball. This year is his farewell tour in baseball and he is on pace for his second best season, during his last season, as a 43-year-old playing against 20-year-olds. More importantly, he has made a point to spend hours of extra time with the people who matter in each stadium he visits this year. This includes the stadium staff, the locker room staff, the groundskeepers, the competing players, his teammates, and of course, the fans in every city.
As I said, Mariano Rivera has quietly, but powerfully, illustrated how to do things the right way. This is why I stayed up for the All-Star game the other night as he was scheduled to pitch in the final innings. He pitched a perfect inning 1-2-3, and was named the game MVP. Here is a summary of his accomplishments:
- 13-time AL All-Star (1997, 1999-2002, 2004-2006, 2008-2011 & 2013)
- 4-time AL Reliever of the Year Award Winner (1997, 1999, 2001 & 2004)
- 5-time AL Rolaids Relief Award Winner: (1999, 2001, 2004, 2005 & 2009)
- 1999 World Series MVP
- 2003 ALCS MVP
- 2013 All-Star Game MVP
- 3-time AL Saves Leader (1999, 2001 & 2004)
- 30 Saves Seasons: 14 (1997-2001 & 2003-2011)
- 40 Saves Seasons: 8 (1997, 1999, 2001, 2003-2005, 2009 & 2011)
- 50 Saves Seasons: 2 (2001 & 2004)
- Won five World Series with the New York Yankees (1996, 1998, 1999, 2000 & 2009)
- Saves, career, 608
- Saves, right-hander, career, 608
- Games finished, career, 892
- Games, AL, career, 1,051
- Relief appearances, AL, career, 1,041
Here are two articles worth reading (please read them for me). The first contains the 3-minute video highlight of the inning he pitched (pitchers only pitch one inning each in the All-Star game). Notice that all the other players remained off the field (unknowingly to him) so that he would enter alone from the bullpen to his theme song that is always played in his home stadium when he enters as the closing pitcher late in a game.
This is an example of why our being in business for 25 long years is so important to me – it reflects our dedication to doing things the right way. More importantly, this is how Mom and I pray for you to live your lives in the name of God – the right way. A tribute for a long path traveled well, far outweighs any momentary applause. And this is what gives glory to God and one day earns you the right to enter his presence.
By the way, Mariano Rivera is a Christian who has started a church with his wife and has been quoted as saying, “Everything I have and everything I became is because of the strength of the Lord, and through him I have accomplished everything. Not because of my strength. Only by his love, his mercy, and his strength.”
He also gave great perspective on once losing the World Series and the effort he displayed. “I did my best. I did everything within my power.I did everything within my power to win that game for us. Guess what? Didn’t happen. And you think I’m going to start like a child, oh oh oh, I be crying? No, I did my best. My best wasn’t enough that day. I looked my boss into his eyes, and I said, ‘Boss, I did my best, and my best wasn’t enough today.’ I can sleep comfortable and move forward.”
Our ONLY responsibility is to do our best. Everything else is up to God.