Lessons Learned & Random Ramblings

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None of your business! But is it? April 29, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kate @ 8:39 am

This blog has been brewing in my head for the last several months but I wasn’t quite able to articulate my thoughts until now. Following the recent rash of inappropriate behavior by celebrities and athletes – Tiger Woods, Jesse James, Ben Roethlisberger, Tito Ortiz, etc. – I have found two questions consistently in my head. 1) What does the public have a “right” to know about the private lives of celebrities? 2) Why have celebrities not figured out that right or wrong their lives play out on television and considered the value of better behavior?

The first is of particular interest to me. I can’t tell you how many of my coworkers, friends and students have seemed personally insulted by the behavior of the aforementioned men. Why? I think Tiger Woods and the gang are dirtbags but they didn’t do anything to me. My life was unaffected other than the fact that television news was dominated by their actions. I feel compassion for the people that they hurt and a general sense of sadness that these things happen at all. However, my life isn’t changed because of their actions. There has been a HUGE debate over whether or not Tiger should formally respond to how many women, what types of action, where/when/why, etc. Why? While I truly believe that athletes and celebrities should at least attempt to be role models I do not believe that their lives have to be a completely open book just because the media invades their lives constantly. That being said, I also believe that you are fair game when you live your life in the public eye. For example, Tiger has at times promoted Nike, Gillette, Gatorade, car companies, heath products, etc. His presence as a spokesperson has encouraged people to trust these companies and their products. As a result, people feel a connection to him. However, I believe an apology is all he owes the general public. He owes Elin, his family, the PGA and his sponsors something more but it isn’t necessary for him to give the rest of us all the dirty details. His future behavior will dictate whether he takes his role as a celebrity, spokesperson, role model seriously.

As for my second question, I am incapable of understanding the naivety of some athletes and celebrities. After the media circus surrounding past personal drama (marriages, divorces, cheating scandals, tax evasion, etc.) how does anyone think they can get away with disgusting and inappropriate behavior? Did Jesse James really believe he could hide numerous affairs? Did Tiger really believe he could keep 14+ mistresses without something eventually coming out? Michael Phelps couldn’t smoke pot without it becoming tabloid fodder, why would you possibly think that Nazi poses and sexual exploits could remain under the radar?

That being said I also have a HUGE problem with Ben Roethlisberger and his stupidity. He is already embroiled in a sexual assault case. What the hell is he doing in a bar with underage girls even if he is behaving perfectly? Right after the scandal broke there was a sports commentator who made the analogy that if you had been arrested for arson you shouldn’t be dumb enough to get caught playing with matches. Brilliant point! That is exactly the mindset Ben should have been channeling. Instead, while we know that charges will not be filed in the most recent incident we have no idea how the life of his victim has been changed by this ordeal or how his own life and career will be affected long-term by his stupidity. He has been given a six game suspension and ordered to attend counseling – hopefully he will actually learn something and make positive changes.

I guess my point is that while these celebrities and athletes may believe that it is none of our business what they do in their “private” lives, they are mistaken. Fair or unfair, they don’t have private lives and they have made career choices that have put them in the spotlight. Like it or not, it is time to put on your big boy pants and behave accordingly. However, they are right about one thing – unless your life was personally affected by their actions, they don’t owe you any more than an apology – they need to save their energy, contrition and efforts for the people they are directly connected with including their families, teams, friends and sponsors.


A lifelong love of baseball… April 6, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kate @ 2:31 pm

As far as I am concerned spring doesn’t truly begin until the first pitch is thrown in a regular season MLB game. I don’t really care what the calendar says about the beginning of a new season – it isn’t real for me until the baseball season starts.

The smell of fresh-cut grass, the feel of a freshly oiled baseball glove, the sound of a bat hitting the ball — these are the true signs of spring. For almost my entire life baseball has been inextricably linked to sunshine, happiness and – perhaps most importantly – my relationship with my father.

When I was six, I started out as the ball girl for my father’s Babe Ruth team. As I got older my responsibilities increased as well. I was the bat girl at approximately age 8 and at 13 I began keeping the stats and the official “score book” for his games. By 20, I was the coach whenever he got thrown out of games for arguing with the umpire.  Just in case you were wondering, I have a perfect winning record.

For my father baseball wasn’t just a sport and he wasn’t just a coach. He was (and still is) a role model, a leader  and a father figure for many boys who needed one. The boys on his teams weren’t just players that spent a few hours a week with him – the ones who had no where else to go spent holidays with us, we regularly had cookouts with players and their families, we attended non-baseball events to support many of them and cheered them on in games with other leagues. My sister and I probably had nearly 150 “big brothers” growing up. Can you imagine how difficult that made getting a date in high school? Let me tell you it was not fun!

For me, summer was directly connected to hours spent with my father on the baseball field. I attended practices and games, I drove long distances with my dad for championship games, I wore a jersey and exchanged line-ups with the opposing team. My relationship with my father is in many ways a direct result of our shared love for the sport. We have attended countless New York Mets games together – my father still keeps a score card in the stands just in case his opinion is needed by the official scorekeeper! In addition, I am probably the only 16-year-old in history to have written a letter to the Veteran’s Committee of the Baseball Hall of Fame to support the induction of Gil Hodges.

As another baseball season starts I think back to all the incredible memories I have that are directly connected to America’s pastime. I remember one season when a boy on my father’s team broke his arm. I was probably nine. The boy didn’t have a great home life so my father took him to the emergency room, filled his prescriptions and offered him a place to stay. The next morning my mother, my sister and I returned from an overnight at my grandparents house to find 15 boys on the living room floor. They were so connected to each other, and my father, that they felt the need to be together to show support for the injured player. Without even trying he taught us about the importance of compassion and friendship.

When I was about 18 I had a date with one of my dad’s players. He beeped his horn when he picked me up for our night out. The next day I got a call from another friend on the team letting me know that I wouldn’t be hearing from the boy again because my father had thrown a pitch at his head during batting practice. My father’s response when I questioned him about it – he was crowding the plate.  Without even trying he taught me that I deserved more respect from the people who wanted to be a part of my life.

Baseball became common ground for me and my father – something that doesn’t always come easy for dads and daughters. It opened the door for life lessons about empathy, leadership, role models, compassion, the importance of being there for the people who matter….It changed my life.

To this day I watch games with my dad – in fact, I just bought tickets for us to see the Mets in June for his birthday. I hope that when I am a parent my son or daughter will not only have the opportunity to develop a love for sports with me and my husband but I hope that he or she will also hear from my father all of the stories of love, compassion and teamwork.