Tuesday, October 1, 2013

"Understanding the Moment" - Lessons from Baseball for Leaders

My husband and I were college athletes, and we believe in the lessons and experiences that come from athletics. We love stories of underdogs coming out victorious, stories of sacrifice and success, and stories of athletes overcoming odds. He shared with me the story that follows, and if you are a baseball fan you probably heard about it or you might have even watched it unfold. It's a story about "Understanding the Moment."

Mariano Rivera is a pitcher with one of the most storied professional baseball programs ever, the New York Yankees. Last week, the pitcher with the most career saves at 652, pitched his final game at Yankee Stadium.  Joe Girardi, who used to catch Rivera, is the manager for the NY Yankees. Joe Giarardi gets it. He understood the magnitude of the moment for Rivera last week. 

Girardi called for Rivera to come in the game in the eighth, and almost everyone in the stadium rose to their feet to cheer for baseball's all-time saves leader. After retiring 4 batters, Garardi called for a closer to come in for Rivera. But Girardi didn't go out to the mound, he sent out Andy Pettitte and Derek Jeter, two of Rivera's long-time teammates. 

  Watch the video clip here of Rivera's last game.

Joe Girardi could have ignored the moment. He could have made an excuse. He could have let it slip by. Instead he made the most of it for Rivera. He understood what pitching your last game at Yankee Stadium in your final season of professional baseball meant. And he made the most of it for Rivera. 

As school leaders, what do we do to make moments special? Are we thoughtful and intentional in our celebrations of students and staff? 

Do we understand the moment?


  1. This is a great post and a powerful message. I'm also a sports enthusiast, and there are a ton of applicable lessons to school leadership. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Thanks for stopping by, Tiffany. The video clip is a tear-jerker and great reminder to celebrate people and their moments. Thanks, again!