A few days ago, a major league umpire blew a call and cost a pitcher a perfect game. Being that the “perfect game” is such a rare feat in baseball, this was a big deal to many in the sports world.
But what struck me about the whole incident was how quickly and completely the ump owned up to his error.
He blew it. He said he blew it. He felt terrible about blowing it and if there was a way to make amends for screwing up the call beyond apologizing, he made no bones about saying he would have done it.
“It was the biggest call of my career, and I kicked the (stuff) out of it,” Joyce said, looking and sounding distraught as he paced in the umpires’ locker room. “I just cost that kid a perfect game.”
This, to me, is a great reminder as to why I often try to bring in “pieces” I find from my random readings into English class. The language arts standards are easy to teach. Aspects of being a high quality human being, much tougher. (And being that the bubble tests don’t even bother to pay lip service to this aspect of a student’s education – beyond the threat of DON’T CHEAT ON THE BUBBLE TESTS, that is – we are sledding up an even tougher hill on this front!)
An article like this is a great way to end the year. Why? Because at the end of the day, kids need to know that no matter what they do, no matter how hard they try, no matter where they work, how much they make or who they partner up with, they are going to one day “screw up big time”.
And how they respond to their errors will determine much more about their lives than most kids really ever give any thought to.
I know I’ve screwed up a lot this year. (School ends next Friday, June 11 for me.) I am sure there are students to whom I have seemed insensitive, peers to whom I’ve seemed self-righteous, admins to whom I have seemed intractable and readers who think I am a bleepity-bleep.
Heck, sometimes when I read what I have written I think I am a bleepity-bleep so how can folks not?
What can I say but, “Hey, I am human… I screw up.” And just like this baseball ump, when we do foul up – and admit it – I find that most people are pretty quick to forgive us and think we are better people for admitting that we have shortcomings. Matter of fact, the people who own up to their mistakes are the type of people with whom most of us would prefer to be associated with.
Do you know anyone who always thinks they are right?
Do you know anyone that perpetually refuses to apologize?
Do you know anyone who feels that they are entitled to behave the way that they do because of… gulp… who they are?
Drive ya crazy, won’t they?
Umpire Joyce, you can call my ball game anytime because I am much more wary of the folks who claim they are not at fault than I am of the folks who own up to matters and say they are when they are.
In life, as in baseball, no one bats 1.000