2020 is a year that will be circled for decades to come as a time in which we had to battle so much and personally losing my Dad this year forced me to deal with something I clearly was not ready to handle.
I am likely far more spiritual today than I was at this time last year and I now understand the term that God does not give us anything we can not handle. When my Dad passed on Good Friday of this year, I received so many phone calls from people inside the industry and so many MLB, NFL, NBA and NHL players as well.
One that stands out is a call I got from David Wright and I quickly realized how great a teammate he was to fellow players and still is to this day. He reminded me that my Dad had a heart attack back in 1971 and I got a chance to spend nearly an extra half a century with him after that terrible day and that was a blessing.
As usual David was right on target and later that day got a call from Doc Gooden who made me feel so good by chatting with him as well. As reporters, we sometimes get lost in the games we cover and I always try to remember it is an absolute blessing to do what we do. When I think of players I’ve covered like Gary Carter, Mike Piazza, Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran, Pedro Martinez, Todd Frazier, Pete Alonso Billy Wagner and Tom Glavine I know I am a better person understanding that talent HAS to be coupled with hard work or it all becomes wasted talent.
And I’ve also been inspired by players in other sports like Allan Houston, Patrick Ewing, John Starks, Chad Pennington, Joe Fields, Mark Messier, Brian Leetch and Adam Graves whom I all have drawn inspiration from as well.
2020 was a very mixed year for me as I had issues like My Dad’s passing to deal with but also learned that love in my heart and soul could help me through any obstacle. As many of you know, in addition to my reporting I run Ad Sales groups for major networks and I lost a gig on RNN in 2019 which left me bitter and depressed.
But 2 things became so obvious to me–RNN was not the place for me to be and more challenges were on the horizon but I could not see those challenges until I put my angst deep in my rear view mirror and then and only then I could properly focus on my career search and coupled with ESPN Law and Crime is a great place to be as we launched during a pandemic and have actually made our sales budget EVERY month during the pandemic.
And I firmly believe the lessons I learned covering sports clubhouses helped me develop those skills. My message to each of you is while we are in this pandemic think of the stuff you can control and focus on that. That will make the other things fall into place. Never let others convince you that your dreams for success are unrealistic.
As the great Tom Seaver once told me, “Rich just be yourself and if that is not enough for your detractors then it is their problem not yours.”
Great advice from the greatest pitcher to ever throw from the mound in NY baseball history. And it is something I take with me every single day whether I am in a press box, ad sales presentation or preparing taxes in a tax office.
Be thankful and grateful today but also extend your hand to people in need. Remember if you are looking to 50% of people in your life for leadership that means the other half of the people in your life are looking to YOU for leadership.
Happy Thanksgiving to All