Heavy Hitters Strike Out a Lot

Posted: January 31, 2012 in Piano

Babe Ruth, full-length portrait, standing, fac...

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Two items are framed in my office. One is an old sheet of music. The other is a reprint from the Wall Street Journal. These relics have hung on the wall of every office I have had. I would like to share them with you.

Old Sheet Music

I was working in a piano store. I was also in the Air Force. I was working part-time in Largo, Maryland at Jordan-Kitts Music.  I remember this story because it occurred on my 21st birthday. I was playing a grand piano in the store. A man walked up and said hello. I said hello and finished playing. He listened to me. When I was done he took a piece of manuscript paper from his satchel and started writing at a quick pace. When he was finished, he handed me the music and said, “Keep this. One day you will be able to play it.” I looked at it and laughed. I had no idea what the symbols meant. I thanked him.  I have kept that piece of paper for over 30 years. It was the first time anyone had showed me anything related to jazz.  It was maybe six or seven years before I was able to play that music or understand what it meant. It was a special moment, so I framed the music. I have no idea who the man was who gave it to me. I wish I did. I would say thank you again, and again.

The Reprint

I was in college in the 80s. I read an editorial ad in the Wall Street Journal. I was very impressed with the contents because I was an older college student and was unaware how a return to college would benefit me. Going to college was never a concern because it was a life goal. But I never really knew if there would be a pay-off. I would tell myself, “You will either be a 32 year old college graduate, or you will not.” It was a simple choice. Still, the question about the worth of the effort lingered…until I read this article. It too found a permanent home on my office wall.

The content of the article reads as follows:

Don’t Be Afraid to Fail

You’ve failed
Many times,
Although you may not
You fell down
The first time
You tried to walk.
You almost drowned
The first time
You tried to swim, didn’t you?
Did you hit the
Ball the first time
You swung the bat?
Heavy hitters,
The ones who hit the
Most home runs,
Also strike
Out a lot.
R. H. Macy
Failed seven
Times before his
Store in New York
Caught on.
English Novelist
John Creasey got
753 rejection slips
Before he published
564 books.
Babe Ruth struck out
1,330 times,
But he also hit
714 home runs.
Don’t worry
About failure.
Worry about the
Chances you miss
When you don’t
even try.

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