TO THE 2023 GRADUATES

From the Sidelines

1213

It is graduation time here and everywhere else in the country. Young people who have slaved and toiled (?) in school are finally heading out into the world. It is an amazing adventure! In the last several years, I have come to know a few athletes from our county schools, and believe me, they are truly special. I believe they will attain much success in life. This is not to belittle the other students, they also have that same potential, and I wish them all the best. However, if I may, I would like to pass along some thoughts for all of our graduates to consider. I guess you could call it “OLD GEEZER ADVICE”, but I believe it just may help at least one person who needs to hear these things.

Growing up, I always was fascinated by some of the things I heard famous people say. Most have come from athletes and coaches, but they have stuck with me and helped me cope with life. I want to give these to you, so you can think of them and learn and use them in your life to bring about a balance, and perspective. These are the ones that have stuck with me the most, so please indulge this old geezer for a few minutes, as I want you all to become the best you can be!

The first thing I want you to remember is this-”Life is 10% what happens to you, and 90% how you react to it.” Your reaction to good and bad will develop your character. If you lose it when things go bad, you will not think clearly when things are good. Being positive in all situations, staying calm and thinking things through will help relieve some of the stress of everyday life. Learn to stay calm, and react positively in all situations.

The second thing is from Vince Lombardi, the former coach of the Green Bay Packers, He said -“The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary!” In any job you have, or in anything really, you have to work at it to be successful. There is no other way. Work shows you how to be disciplined and how good it feels to have someone say “JOB WELL DONE!” Contrary to popular belief, good hard work never failed anybody from becoming successful. Remember that!   

The third thing I want you to remember is from Chuck Noll, former coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, and 4-time super Bowl champion.  He said -“Champions are not champions because they do anything extraordinary, but because they do the ordinary things better than anyone else.”  This applies to everything you do. It is boring to do the ordinary, but if you do it to the best of your ability, you become better each time and learn how to be a Champion in everything you do. DO THE BASICS RIGHT and it pays dividends down the road.

The fourth thing to remember is from Vince Lombardi again. This is my favorite quote of all time, He said – “The measure of who we are is what we do with what we have!” No matter what life, your job, or your family gives to you, all the problems and strife, and joys and riches, in the end what counts is what have you done with everything that has come your way? Have you become the best with what you have had done to you and given to you? That is what counts in the end, and when you are older, can you look back and be proud of what you did, with what you achieved? I hope so, because if you are honest, and do the best you can, at an older age, it is very satisfying and peaceful to know you did your best, in your life and in helping others.

Finally, the last one is one I have taken to heart since I was about 7 years old.  I heard an old comedian, Red Skelton (ask your parents or Google him!) say this in an interview once. They asked him what advice would he give to people just starting out in life and he very quickly said – “Don’t take life too seriously, cause you ain’t gonna get out of it alive anyway!” For those that know me, they know that this is me! Life to me is to be enjoyed, I don’t stress over anything very much, because I enjoy being happy, and I know that with my faith in God, the bad times don’t last, they are just a temporary setback to happiness. Bad times don’t last, but good people do, and that is the foundation of our society, good, hard working, faithful, people, doing the ordinary and making such extraordinary things and sacrifices for all of us.

Well, there you have it. I hope some of you print this out, and every once in a while get it out and read it. I think these things have value, and may make your future easier to navigate. I want the best for all of you, and after meeting some of you, I am sure the future is in good hands, as long as you stay grounded in the basics; family, faith, hard work, and discipline.  You will be the greatest generation if you do these things.  That’s the way I see it……from the Sidelines.