Updated: Feb 26, 2020
*names changed to protect the innocent (except for my kids)
I met Zeke when I began giving his son, Bert, pitching lessons during the fall before his senior year of High school (Fall 2016). Bert decided to come play baseball for us after high school, and today, shortly before gametime at Cañada College, I said hello to Zeke, who was there to watch the game.
A brief conversation ensued, he asked about my kids (my son was less than a year old when I started working with Bert) and we talked about the joys of fatherhood (I have 3 children, Mia-13, Ace-3, and Hope-1). We talked about our young team and their bright future. We talked about my career aspirations and the cost of living in the Bay Area as well as his love for women's college soccer and college baseball.
I knew mid-conversation that this was the one for the day, probably because of how genuinely he complemented my beard. I could go more in depth about several of the aforementioned topics and dig up something valuable, but it was what he said at the end that resonated the most.
They announced that they would be playing the National Anthem, and he said, "when this is over, can I make a request?" At the conclusion of the anthem, Zeke said, when you become a head coach, go to the fine arts programs and bring out someone from the arts to sing the National Anthem. We've all had enough of the regurgitated recorded stuff.
Done Zeke. I get it.
Moral: be original; be unique; be genuine. Seek a real connection and response. Nobody really needs the boxed/cue card inspired applause and laughter inspired by sitcoms.
Communication is the transfer and understanding of information and emotion. In my experience, there is a completely unique emotional response and appreciation for each National Anthem performed live, while a boxed anthem nearly always feels like someone just going through the motions.
Happiness, value, and inspiration aren't things achieved by simply going through the motions.