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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A dog and her ball

The past week has been a tough one for my family.  Our 11 year old Golden Retriever (Cassie) passed away unexpectedly last Monday morning.  So why would I mention this on a baseball blog?  Because she was a great role model for any young person who wishes to become a great baseball player.  If they spent time with her, here's what they would have learned:

Focus.  When she played ball, cats and squirrels could have run across her path and they would not have altered her focus.  It was 100% focus, 100% of the time when a ball was involved.  Great players do not allow irrelevant things to distract them from their game.

Show up everyday.  Rain, sleet, snow, heat, cold, wind, ... it didn't matter.  Pick up a ball and she was ready.  No complaints.  Anytime, anyplace.  She was always ready and willing to play.  Great players show up both physically and mentally when many players are thinking about somewhere else they'd rather be.  The elements don't bother them because they don't allow them to.  The greater the pressure, the more great players show up..

Effort.  When playing ball, Cassie had two speeds - all out sprint or standing still.  There was no in-between.  She may have lost a step or two as she got older but her effort stayed constant.  Great players play every game as if someone very important is watching.  A reporter once asked Joe DiMaggio about why he continued to hustle even though his career was winding down and people would understand.  He responded by saying "There is always some kid who may be seeing me for the first or last time, I owe him my best."  Wouldn't it be great to hear that from a few more modern day athletes?

Passion for the game itself.  Our lawn, the driveway, a parking lot, the beach, the living room, the local creek.  Once again, it didn't matter.  She didn't need perfectly manicured fields to play on.  It wasn't about the field.  It was about the game.  Is it any wonder why so many great players come from the Dominican Republic?

Want to get noticed?  Stop wishing and start playing the game like my dog did.

Goodbye Cassie.  We'll always miss you.


  1. What an amazing "memorial" for your dear Cassie. (You should have this published for your family.) Our beloved pets do have many life lessons to teach us...thank you for pointing them out.

  2. You're welcome and thank you for reading. Cassie was a dog we got from a rescue group called GRREAT (Golden Retriever Rescue Education And Training out of Virginia. I've been told that the group is publishing my memorial post in their next newsletter.
    Thank you for the comment!

  3. I'm going to show this to my son, who coaches a Little League team of 9-11 year olds. They could learn a lesson. Actually I'm pretty sure even the Orioles could learn a lesson from Cassie. I know how you are feeling... we lost our first Golden Retriever, Max, just over 4 years ago at age 14 (minus one month). He stayed with us as long as he possibly could. Our hearts were broken.......and have since been healed by our new Golden, Murphy.