On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS October 6, 2014 #509 Up next…”RE2PECT”!
After further review…”The Captain has left the building”! Or more accurately…”the field”. Or perhaps you hear the voice of legendary NY Yankee announcer Bob Sheppard, annunciating in his distinguished tone, “Numbah 2, Derek Jee-tah numbah 2”. After twenty years as the Yankee shortstop, Jeter has retired and will proudly walk-away.
This tribute to “numah 2” is not because he has the most hits ever as a Yankee ever, and it’s not because in his last at-bats in the bottom of the ninth he drove in the winning run to beat the Orioles 6-5 with a “walk-off’ (dislike that term) single. No, this is about Jeter – the role model!
It’s a time-honored compliment to say of someone that “if you looked up the word (quality x) in the dictionary you’d see so-and-so’s picture”. It certainly holds true for Jeter. Plug in respect, or better yet re2pect, for quality x and you’re likely to find a picture of Derek Jeter in his legendary #2 Yankee uniform. He certainly epitomizes the definition of that word, eliciting “high or special regard” from a couple of generations of Yankee fans.
As Paul Anka wrote and Frank Sinatra sang: “For what is a man, what has he got? If not himself, then he has naught”. Jeter had always been Jeter! In his words he “worked hard every day to do my job (as a Yankee shortstop) to the standard I expect of myself”. He remained a single man, because “I knew I couldn’t give what was needed or expected of me and do justice to being a husband and father”.
“Don’t disappoint yourself, is the axiom Dot and Charles Jeter taught their son. Dot, a Caucasian, and Charles, an African-American, knew what a challenge living up to those words could pose. They raised Derek in an earlier era, when children of racially mixed-marriages were more likely to encounter bigotry, and standing up to oneself took dignity and courage. Derek says he heard an occasional derogatory remark, yet never became bitter or allowed those remarks to define his character.“Respect people like you want to be respected” Charles would say. It would be hard to find someone Derek ever snubbed or failed to treat with the utmost respect. That’s why it’s called RE2PECT!
Will you adapt #2’s philosophy and respect others as you want to be respected?
Jim’s new book “101 Best of TunneySide of Sports” contains many stories defining respect.