“Out of the mouths of babes…”
He is my baby sister’s only son. My sister is seventeen years my junior. Our father was gone well before she was grown and married…thus way before Zac, her son, was born.
Zac grew up under the influence of a father who struggled with alcohol, drug, and various other demons. He was, thankfully, under the direct influence of a wonderful mother who invested in him, protected, and cared for him, and provided him an unwavering example of love, faith, and loyalty. Plus, he had my own mother in his life and there is not one thing wrong with that!
On losses and life
Zac is grown now, somewhere in his 20s. He is in love with a sweet, spirited, intelligent, invested girl. And he is pursuing his baseball dreams. Serving as assistant coach for the Tatum (Tx) High School baseball team, he helped to guide the team into the state playoff tournament. They ultimately fell short of their goal of state champions.
Following is the message my nephew Zac wrote to the team:
It’s never easy to see a season end. This past year serving Tatum High School Eagle Baseball has meant more to me than I could have ever imagined. This game continually blows me away. God has allowed it to be a vessel for me to reach young men, escape the trials of life in the past, and build lifelong relationships.
Seniors, it is very rare to see a senior class perform at such a high level on and off the field. All three in the top 10% of their class. Reese, Mason, and Aidan thank you for accepting me into your program and giving 100% effort on and off the field every day. There was never a doubt you did just that. You’ve accomplished so much in Tatum, Tx but that’s only a fraction of what you will accomplish in this life!
Coach Russell, you’ve built something special, been a pilot for a program that grew stale, and a mentor to a young coach who needed an opportunity. You model consistency and professionalism well. Thank you for listening, implementing my ideas, and always having my back. I respect you and what you’ve accomplished so much and hope to take what I’ve learned and do it myself someday.
Coach Milam and Coach Tubbleville, I hope I was able to make you smile through frustration, I hope I served you each in a capacity that made you better. I value our friendship and cherish the time spent serving our kids. Keep loving on those kiddos as you do so well Coach T and enjoy retirement B! I will have to catch a doubleheader in Corsicana next spring!
The rest of the Tatum Eagles, 2022 was just another chapter in the book you are still writing. The bar is high, but you’ve been equipped for more. I love each one of you. Your potential has no limit other than what you put on yourself. Be the same person every day. Always remember that baseball is just a game. Your worth is not tied to success. You control input not outcomes. Lastly, always remember to right left hop.
– Coach Rolf
“Your worth is not tied to success. You control input, not outcomes.”
What a word for these young men embarking on the next leg to adulthood, independence, and responsibility!
If you don’t think I am proud of this kid, this man, this influencer, just ask me.
Striking it rich
In an industry where horses cost millions, Rich Strike was a basement-bargain $30,000 horse. His team wanted him in the Kentucky Derby but he was slated 21st in a 20-horse field. It took a scratch to get him into the race. He had one of the least-desirable starting positions at the gate. No member of the team from owner to trainer to jockey had ever won a major stakes race.
As predicted, this 80-1 shot entered the final lap in 15th place. As no one could have possibly predicted, he and jockey slashed and sliced and slivered and raced to the front, passing 14 horses in one lap to win the Derby.
He became an instant legend, a modern-day Seabiscuit, an inspiration to millions.
Bryon David is my best friends’ oldest son. This is how close I am to his parents and to him: his middle name is my first name and that is no accident. I have known him his entire life. His wife Jennifer is a Philippine missionary couple’s daughter. She is beautiful, bright, and, clearly, wise.
This is what she wrote after the Derby race…
Life lesson in 2 minutes: replay the KY Derby Race
1. Not the best starting position
2. Not the biggest or best horse
3. Only made it into the race on account of another horse having to scratch
4. $30,000 horse against multi-million-dollar horses.
It’s not always about having the best of everything or being the biggest and favored. It’s about the size of heart and dedication to win and excel in everything you do! I’ll take it one step further and say, maybe it’s not even such a huge accomplishment like this…but if you can be one percent better every day…that’s enough!
Well done, Rich Strike
Things to learn from these things…
1. Losses are more than losses; they are life lessons.
2. We control input, not outcomes.
3. It is time to rethink what we mean when we talk about what someone is “worth.”
4. A longshot is still a shot.
5. If you get in the race, run!
6. Money is just one kind of investment and not even the most important kind.
7. The future is in good hands with leaders and influencers like Zac and Jen.
Now, that is a rich strike!