“seventeen INCHES” – you will not regret studying this
An fantastic short article to browse from starting to stop.
20 yrs ago, in Nashville , Tennessee , all through the first week of January, 1996, extra than four,000 baseball coaches descended on the Opryland Hotel for the 52nd annual ABCA’s conference.
Even though I waited in line to sign up with the hotel personnel, I heard other extra veteran coaches rumbling about the lineup of speakers scheduled to present all through the weekend. 1 name, in unique, held resurfacing, normally with the same sentiment — “John Scolinos is listed here? Oh, male, well worth every penny of my airfare.”
Who is John Scolinos, I wondered. No make any difference I was just joyful to be there.
In 1996, Coach Scolinos was seventy eight yrs outdated and 5 yrs retired from a higher education coaching job that started in 1948. He shuffled to the stage to an extraordinary standing ovation, donning darkish polyester trousers, a gentle blue shirt, and a string about his neck from which home plate hung — a complete-sized, stark-white home plate.
Seriously, I wondered, who is this person?
Just after speaking for 20-5 minutes, not when mentioning the prop hanging about his neck, Coach Scolinos appeared to discover the snickering amid some of the coaches. Even those people who knew Coach Scolinos experienced to speculate particularly exactly where he was heading with this, or if he experienced basically neglected about home plate because he’d gotten on stage. Then, ultimately …
“You’re almost certainly all pondering why I’m donning home plate about my neck,” he claimed, his voice escalating irascible. I laughed together with the some others, acknowledging the likelihood. “I might be outdated, but I’m not crazy. The rationale I stand just before you nowadays is to share with you baseball persons what I’ve acquired in my existence, what I’ve acquired about home plate in my seventy eight yrs.”
A number of fingers went up when Scolinos questioned how several Little League coaches had been in the home. “Do you know how huge home plate is in Little League?”
Just after a pause, another person made available, “Seventeen inches?”, extra of a issue than solution.
“That’s proper,” he claimed “How about in Babe Ruth’s day? Any Babe Ruth coaches in the residence?” Another extensive pause.
“Seventeen inches?” a guess from an additional hesitant mentor.
“That’s proper,” claimed Scolinos. “Now, how several high college coaches do we have in the home?” Hundreds of fingers shot up, as the sample started to show up. “How huge is home plate in high college baseball?”
“Seventeen inches,” they claimed, sounding extra confident.
“You’re proper!” Scolinos barked. “And you higher education coaches, how huge is home plate in higher education?”
“Seventeen inches!” we claimed, in unison.
“Any Minimal League coaches listed here? How huge is home plate in professional ball?”…………“Seventeen inches!”
“RIGHT! And in the Main Leagues, how huge home plate is in the Main Leagues?
“SEV-EN-Teen INCHES!” he confirmed, his voice bellowing off the walls. “And what do they do with a Huge League pitcher who cannot toss the ball more than seventeen inches?” Pause. “They send him to Pocatello !” he hollered, drawing raucous laughter. “What they do not do is this: they do not say, ‘Ah, that’s okay, Jimmy. If you cannot hit a seventeen-inch focus on? We’ll make it eighteen inches or nineteen inches. We’ll make it 20 inches so you have a improved chance of hitting it. If you cannot hit that, permit us know so we can make it wider continue to, say 20-5 inches.’”
Pause. “Coaches… what do we do when your finest participant shows up late to practice? or when our crew rules forbid facial hair and a person shows up unshaven? What if he gets caught consuming? Do we hold him accountable? Or do we transform the rules to suit him? Do we widen home plate? “
The chuckles little by little pale as four thousand coaches grew tranquil, the fog lifting as the outdated coach’s information started to unfold. He turned the plate towards himself and, working with a Sharpie, started to attract anything. When he turned it towards the group, stage up, a residence was unveiled, entire with a freshly drawn door and two home windows. “This is the difficulty in our properties nowadays. With our marriages, with the way we mother or father our young children. With our self-discipline.
We do not train accountability to our young children, and there is no consequence for failing to fulfill expectations. We just widen the plate!”
Pause. Then, to the stage at the best of the residence he additional a little American flag. “This is the difficulty in our colleges nowadays. The high quality of our schooling is heading downhill speedy and teachers have been stripped of the instruments they need to be productive, and to educate and self-discipline our youthful persons. We are permitting some others to widen home plate! The place is that having us?”
Silence. He replaced the flag with a Cross. “And this is the difficulty in the Church, exactly where powerful persons in positions of authority have taken advantage of youthful young children, only to have these an atrocity swept under the rug for yrs. Our church leaders are widening home plate for on their own! And we make it possible for it.”
“And the same is legitimate with our govt. Our so referred to as associates make rules for us that do not use to on their own. They just take bribes from lobbyists and foreign international locations. They no for a longer period serve us. And we make it possible for them to widen home plate! We see our nation slipping into a darkish abyss when we just look at.”
I was stunned. At a baseball conference exactly where I predicted to understand anything about curve balls and bunting and how to run improved tactics, I experienced acquired anything significantly extra worthwhile.
From an outdated male with home plate strung about his neck, I experienced acquired anything about existence, about myself, about my very own weaknesses and about my tasks as a chief. I experienced to hold myself and some others accountable to that which I knew to be proper, lest our families, our faith, and our society keep on down an undesirable route.
“If I am lucky,” Coach Scolinos concluded, “you will don’t forget one issue from this outdated mentor nowadays. It is this: “If we fail to hold ourselves to a larger standard, a standard of what we know to be proper if we fail to hold our spouses and our young children to the same expectations, if we are unwilling or unable to offer a consequence when they do not fulfill the standard and if our colleges & church buildings & our govt fail to hold on their own accountable to those people they serve, there is but one issue to search forward to …”
With that, he held home plate in entrance of his chest, turned it about, and unveiled its darkish black bottom, “…We have darkish days forward!.”
Note: Coach Scolinos died in 2009 at the age of 91, but not just before touching the life of hundreds of players and coaches,which include mine. Conference him at my first ABCA conference held me returning yr soon after yr, hunting for related wisdom and inspiration from other coaches. He is the finest clinic speaker the ABCA has at any time recognised simply because he was so a lot extra than a baseball mentor. His information was crystal clear: “Coaches, hold your players—no make any difference how very good they are—your very own young children, your church buildings, your govt, and most of all, hold your self at seventeen inches.”
And this my friends is what our nation has become and what is completely wrong with it nowadays, and now go out there and correct it!
“Never widen the plate.”
Prepared by Chris Sperry.