H. Rick Goff
Updated: Jan 22, 2021
I recently watched a documentary on the great Henry Aaron and his chase for Babe Ruth's
magical 714 home runs. I know the story because I lived it in the mid 70s; as a huge baseball fan, I tracked every homer the "Hammer" hit that season. I was 14 years old and remember the pride I felt when Hank hit home run 715 off of Al Downing of the Los Angeles Dodgers on the night of April 8, 1974 in Atlanta Fulton County Stadium (I didn't have to google this either). But the documentary also talked about the hate letters and threats he and his family received during the chase. At that point, he knew the home run chase had become about more than baseball and Hank made up his mind; no matter the personal cost, he was going to break the record. During an interview in the documentary, Hank talked about how what should have been one of the happiest times of his professional and personal life, was actually one of the worst times and how all he wanted was for it to be over! After he hit #715 that night, Hank trotted around the bases with what I am sure were mixed emotions about the feat he had just accomplished.
I hurt for Hank as he told the other side of the story of the home run chase. But it made me even more proud and appreciate him even more because he did it anyway! He didn't let adversity distract or make him lose focus. I'm sure he used the experiences he had growing up in the deep south during jim crow (intentionally not capitalized) to help fuel his desire to break the record. He was a product of an environment that shaped him to deal with adversity and taught him to use his talent to rise above it's negative effects. In spite of the threats, he kept his head high, remained focused, and hit the 1-0 (one ball no strikes) fast ball into the left field seats for #715. He made history that night and will forever be regarded as one of the greatest baseball players ever! (He is the G.O.A.T. in my book)
You often face adversity when trying to make a difference and achieving your goals. Tough circumstances and negativity are often just part of the process. Success is not promised or guaranteed no matter how hard you work. But failure is guaranteed if you allow yourself to be distracted by adversity and temporary setbacks. The most important battles are fought between the ears and your unique blend of mental toughness and "sticktoituivness" is required to achieve your greatness. Every adverse situation you have ever faced has prepared you for the adverse situation you are facing now! You have to stay focused and hit the 1-0 fastball deep into the left field seats for the record breaking #715!