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Devoting Yourself To Each Pitch

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Sports Illustrated has a beautiful and moving obituary for Roy Halladay, one of the greatest pitchers ever, who died unexpectedly in a plane crash in early November. A few of the passages are worth highlighting here, if only because his tragic death is a reminder of the fragility of life.

“For me the satisfaction is always the competition, and the self-gratification knowing you did something to the best of your ability and I think that’s all it will ever be for me. It’s not ever going to be who knows me and what do they think about me. It’s ultimately going to come down to how I went about doing my job.”

“I think that’s where he finds a lot of his happiness,” his father once told me. “To stand up and do what he’s been asked to do. He’s expected to perform well and he expects to be there and earn his money and give them what they pay for.”

“I really believe if you lead a good life and always try to do the right things I think you’re always impacting someone. That’s what we’ve tried to instill in our kids. For us it’s more important to try to be a good person, all around, especially with other people.”

If we might save the best for last, it’s that the writer believed that Roy Halladay was a modern day Stoic, a “Marcus Aurelius on the mound. ‘Confine yourself to the present,’ Aurelius said, and that was Halladay, especially when it came to his craft. He devoted himself totally to the next pitch, damn the money, fame and statistics.”

And so while we can feel a tinge of sadness that this talented man departed from earth prematurely, we can take some solace in the fact that he appeared to live every one of his moments fully, that he devoted himself to his job and his family and that he left behind a legacy of humility and excellence for many to follow in.

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