Not many people have heard of Joey Zanaboni. That’s because he is the play-by-play announcer for the FredNats, the Washington Nationals Class A minor league baseball team in Frederick Maryland. Why am I focused on Joey? It’s because of the exuberant way he calls the games. Many traditionalists don’t like him because of his interesting one-liners. Recently he referred to a player who struck out as being “yanked out of there faster than a shirtless passenger on a Spirit Air flight.” He caught my attention not because I care about the state of baseball announcing but because he took his English Literature degree and applied it somewhere he had passion - baseball. He says that “I love language as much as I love baseball.” While some may believe that an English Literature degree does not lead to baseball announcing, he didn’t allow himself to be limited or defined by that degree.
Often, I hear people talking about what they cannot do. Mostly, the comment is without basis or fact, but it may shape their attitude as to what they can accomplish. When I hear those comments, my first question back to them is “why not?” I want to know if the limitation is self-imposed or real. I don’t think we should define ourselves and our activities based on what we studied, what other people think we should do, because that's the way it's always been done. What we believe and want to do should be at the forefront of our activities and planning. Although not everything is possible, I generally believe that more is possible than we think. If we don’t explore what we want and how to accomplish it, we’ll certainly never get there.
When I went to college, I thought I would be an English major like Joey but switched to accounting because I thought it would more easily lead to a job. Since my career started, I put the idea of creative writing on the shelf and forgot about it until I started writing this blog at the start of the pandemic to soothe frayed nerves during those early days in the pandemic. And here we are 114 weeks later. It shouldn’t require a crisis for us to identify and make real changes. I hope you can give some thought to that which you may have always wanted but didn’t think was possible and try work out the path to get there. You may surprise yourself.
This week’s selection is:
From Strength to Strength: Finding Success, Happiness, and Deep Purpose in the Second Half of Life by Arthur C. Brooks
Many of us assume that the more successful we are, the less susceptible we become to the sense of professional and social irrelevance that often accompanies aging. But the truth is, the greater our achievements and our attachment to them, the more we notice our decline, and the more painful it is when it occurs. What can we do, starting now, to make our older years a time of happiness, purpose, and yes, success? At the height of his career at the age of 50, Arthur Brooks embarked on a seven-year journey to discover how to transform his future from one of disappointment over waning abilities into an opportunity for progress. From Strength to Strength is the result, a practical roadmap for the rest of your life. Drawing on social science, philosophy, biography, theology, and eastern wisdom, as well as dozens of interviews with everyday men and women, Brooks shows us that true life success is well within our reach. By refocusing on certain priorities and habits that anyone can learn, such as deep wisdom, detachment from empty rewards, connection and service to others, and spiritual progress, we can set ourselves up for increased happiness.