What We Saw in Johnsons 300th

When I watched Randy Johnson win his 300th on Thursday, I wished my 18-year-old son had watched with me. He’s not a baseball fan, so he never watches (although he makes the occasional trip to AT&T Park with me, mostly for the garlic fries and churros).

But I wished he had watched Randy Johnson yesterday because he would have seen a 6-foot-10-inch example of the quality that I believe will determine his success in life: Perseverance.

We tell our kids all the time to work hard and keep trying. We know, because we’ve learned the hard way, that the only thing in life you really have control over is your effort. You can’t control the results. You can only control how much work and energy you put into something.
 
Randy Johnson is 45 years old, an age when almost every other baseball player is buying longer belts and telling stories about the old days to the local Rotary Club. Johnson no longer has the fastball that made him the most ferocious pitcher of his generation. Yet he won his 300th game this week because he put in the work necessary to overhaul his pitching style.

It couldn’t have been easy. You do something a certain way your whole life, then your body — or your financial circumstances, or your divorce or your downsized job — no longer allows it. You either give up or go through the uncomfortable process of learning a different way. I wanted to show that to my son.
 
Instead, I watched it without him. And I saw something about perseverance I had never fully understood. Even though Johnson shared credit with all his teammates over the years, he alone had to decide each winter to get out of bed every morning and put his middle-aged body through grueling workouts instead of hitting the golf course. He alone had to be willing to risk failure by trotting out to the mound for one more season, then another, when the safe move would have been to wave his cap and accept the applause and start writing his speech for the Hall of Fame.

Perseverance is an individual decision. My son, like each of us, has to choose it on his own. But I wonder if perseverance sometimes seems like an old-fashioned concept because we so rarely get to see what it looks like. Thursday, with Randy Johnson on the mound, we did. 
 

3 Comments

I think you summed it up beautifully. Randy Johnson has that special something inside of him that we all should try to find in us. Congrats Randy!

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

CONGRATULATIONS to Randy, his family and of course to the Giants Franchise for helping to make this possible. I expect Randy has a lot more to offer everyone – I truly believe that he planned it to be in Washington D.C. all along. The capitol city of the United States where many great leaders have ruled for many years. Randy is a Great Leader and will continue to be one – given the chance. I believe he is only on his second wind. It has taken a lifetime to come this far – now Randy has the rest of his life to RELISH THE GLORY.
R

I think it’s easy to figure out what Randy has that sets him apart from the average player: it’s that fire inside that pushes him to be what he is, that being one of the greatest power pitchers in the history of the game. Without it, he could have been out of the game ten years ago and we wouldn’t be speaking of him in reverant tones. And yes, I do think that perseverance is an old-fashioned concept, in a way. Simply put, I think most athletes today don’t have the kind of drive that Johnson has, and that means it’s going to be a long time before we see another 300-game winner.

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