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Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
January 29, 2010

Opening Day of the East Marietta Little League season, I sat in the bleachers overlooking the Sewell Mill Park ball field. I was excited as I anticipated something very special.

Every spring in Marietta, Georgia, the Little Leaguers dress in their uniforms, gloves and ball caps, pile in pickup trucks and parade down the main strip to the field for opening ceremony.

Today was extra special; it was the twentieth anniversary of the 1983 Little League World Series, when the team from Marietta won it all.

My ten year old, John sat on his glove in the field next to his teammates, waiting for the men at the podium to speak. Eleven of the fourteen players on that historic team were there including one who’d gone on to pitch for the Chiago Cubs.

But really everything that morning seemed to revolve around the man in the middle, the skipper for that team and many others during his thirty-eight years coaching Little League; the man my son called his favorite coach, Richard Hilton.

“What was it that made him stand out from all the other coaches?” I wondered. “He looks like Santa, just not as big.” I overheard one of the younger kids say, I laughed. Coach Hilton certainly drew those comparisons with his white hair, white beard and rosy smiling face.

I’d first met Coach Hilton the year before, when John played on his ball team. Everyone had rave reviews. “Did you know he turned down a promotion at work so he could still coach the kids?” another parent asked me. That didn’t surprise me once I saw how good he was with John.

The first team Coach Hilton ever managed was his son’s team and now 38 years later, he still treats his players like family.

My son really wanted to play second base, but since he wasn’t a strong fielder, other coaches had him stuck in right field. When Coach Hilton got John, he put him on second and began to develop the skills in John necessary to play second.

The Coach gave John extra fielding practice to help him become more at ease and flexible in a variety of circumstances. I got used to waiting 15 minutes after practice, watching my son field grounders or take a few last swings in the batting cage.

Coach Hilton cared about the boys off field as much as he did on field. One afternoon last fall, I found John at the table doing his homework before practice-without nagging from me. I must have looked startled because John said, “Coach says we should get our homework done before we play ball.”

It was far more than winning with Coach Hilton. Character and attitude were very important to him. He encouraged the kids continually to find better ways to say and express how they were feeling.

But it didn’t seem to me that it was those things alone that set Coach Hilton apart. There was more, I just couldn’t put my finger on it. Everyone had the same love and respect for him that the kids had. What was that special something that was so hard to define?

The ceremony started. One by one, the former players shared stories from that magical season twenty years ago. Back then, the boys had to win fourteen games in a row to take home the Little League World Series Title. [Today, a round robin tournament means a team can lose and still advance if they win all their other games.]

What really amazed me is how successful each of those players twenty years ago, went on to be. They had become presidents of companies, managers, police officers, doctors, teachers and one went on to play Pro Baseball.

Each one in turn, credited their coach as a role model and mentor. The pitcher for the Cubs? He had come back to Marietta and inspired by Coach Hilton, signed up to coach one of the Little League teams, himself. The Coach had passed the baton and a new story is in the making.

I saw my son John sitting on the field, listening closely and enthralled by what he heard. The Ceremony ended and John and I, headed home to relax before returning for practice in a few hours. “I think I want to coach someday,” John told me as we walked to the car. Was that what made a truly great coach? Someone who inspires others to follow in their path?

John couldn’t stop talking about all the former players until it was almost time to drive back to the field. He went to get his things. Why was he taking so long? “We’re going to be late!” I said, as I was walking down the hall to his room. John was rifling through his closet. He looked up at me, clearly upset. “My glove,” he said, “I can’t find it.” We searched the whole house to no avail.

“Maybe you left your glove at the field,” I said, “We’ll look for it there.” John got into the car, but he wasn’t a happy camper. Neither was I. “No way that glove is still there all these hours later…” I thought. First day of practice and no glove; a sad way to start the season.

We pulled into the parking lot. I was surprised to see Coach Hilton’s red and white truck. What was he doing here? I waved at him. “I thought you would be out celebrating,” I told him.

“Well, I was going to,” he said. “But I couldn’t let one of my Little Leaguers practice without this.” He pulled a worn leather glove from his truck, John’s glove. “I found it on the field.”

There, I had it-the answer to my question. What makes a great Coach or a great person? Putting other people first, leading with love and encouragement. In Little League or in life, it’s those little extras- putting focus on another’s life, looking for ways to lift up, encourage or help another on their journey. That’s the difference between a good coach and a great coach. Great coaches are more than just coaches; they are great leaders. They lead by example.

“Thank you, Coach!” John said, as he bounded off toward the field. I couldn’t tell who was happier-John or his favorite Coach.

A Coach for the Ages by JoEllen Langmack [Marietta, Georgia]
From Guideposts
http://www.guideposts.com/
Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
March 18, 1998

A little house with three bedrooms and one car on the street,
A mower that you had to push to make the grass look neat.

In the kitchen on the wall we only had one phone,
And no need for recording things, someone was always home.

We only had a living room where we would congregate,
Unless it was at mealtime in the kitchen where we ate.

We had no need for family rooms or extra rooms to dine,
When meeting as a family those two rooms would work out fine.

We only had one TV set, and channels maybe two,
But always there was one of them with something worth the view.

For snacks we had potato chips that tasted like a chip,
And if you wanted flavor there was Lipton’s onion dip.

Store-bought snacks were rare because my mother liked to cook,
And nothing can compare to snacks in Betty Crockery’s book.

The snacks were even healthy with the best ingredients,
No labels with a hundred things that make not a bit of sense.

Weekends were for family trips or staying home to play,
We all did things together — even go to church to pray.

When we did our weekend trips depending on the weather,
No one stayed at home because we liked to be together.

Sometimes we would separate to do things on our own,
But we knew where the others were without our own cell phone.

Then there were the movies with your favorite movie star,
And nothing can compare to watching movies in your car.

Then there were the picnics at the peak of summer season,
Pack a lunch and find some trees and never need a reason.

Get a baseball game together with all the friends you know,
Have real action playing ball — and no game video.

Remember when the doctor used to be the family friend,
And didn’t need insurance or a lawyer to defend?

The way that he took care of you or what he had to do,
Because he took an oath and strived to do the best for you.

Remember going to the store and shopping casually,
And when you went to pay for it you used your own money?

Nothing that you had to swipe or punch in some amount,
Remember when the cashier person had to really count?

Remember when we breathed the air; it smelled so fresh and clean,
And chemicals were not used on the grass to keep it green.

The milkman used to go from door to door,
And it was just a few cents more than going to the store.

There was a time when mailed letters came right to your door,
Without a lot of junk mail ads sent out by every store.

The mailman knew each house by name and knew where it was sent;
There were not loads of mail addressed to “present occupant.”

Remember when the words “I do” meant that you really did,
And not just temporarily “til someone blows their lid.”

T’was no such thing as “no one’s fault; we just made a mistake,”
There was a time when married life was built on give and take.

There was a time when just one glance was all that it would take,
And you would know the kind of car, the model and the make.

They didn’t look like turtles trying to squeeze out every mile;
They were streamlined, white walls, fins, and really had some style.

One time the music that you played whenever you would jive,
Was from a vinyl, big-holed record called a forty-five.

The record player had a post to keep them all in line,
And then the records would drop down and play one at a time.

Oh sure, we had our problems then, just like we do today,
And always we were striving, trying for a better way.

And every year that passed us by brought new and greater things,
We now can even program phones with music or with rings.

Oh, the simple life we lived still seems like so much fun,
How can you explain a game, just kick the can and run?

And why would boys put baseball cards between bicycle spokes,
And for a nickel red machines had little bottled Cokes?

This life seemed so much easier and slower in some ways,
I love the new technology but I sure miss those days.

So, time moves on and so do we, and nothing stays the same,
But I sure love to reminisce and walk down memory lane.

Author Unknown - Please comment if you know the author so credit can be given
Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
November 20, 2000

Somebody said that it couldn’t be done

But he with a chuckle replied

That “maybe it couldn’t,” but he would be one

Who wouldn’t say so till he’d tried.

So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin

On his face. If he worried he hid it.

He started to sing as he tackled the thing

That couldn’t be done, and he did it!

Somebody scoffed: “Oh, you’ll never do that;

At least no one ever has done it;”

But he took off his coat and he took off his hat

And the first thing we knew he’d begun it.

With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,

Without any doubting or quiddit,

He started to sing as he tackled the thing

That couldn’t be done, and he did it.

There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,

There are thousands to prophesy failure,

There are thousands to point out to you one by one,

The dangers that wait to assail you.

But just buckle in with a bit of a grin,

Just take off your coat and go to it;

Just start in to sing as you tackle the thing

That “cannot be done,” and you’ll do it.

By Edgar Albert Guest 
Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
September 3, 2003

There once was an oyster
Whose story I tell,
Who found that some sand
Had got into his shell.

It was only a grain,
but it gave him great pain.
For oysters have feelings
Although they’re so plain.

Now, did he berate
the harsh workings of fate
That had brought him
To such a deplorable state?

Did he curse at the government,
Cry for election,
And claim that the sea should
Have given him protection?

‘No,’ he said to himself
As he lay on a shell,
Since I cannot remove it,
I shall try to improve it.

Now the years have rolled around,
As the years always do,
And he came to his ultimate
Destiny ­ stew.

And the small grain of sand
That had bothered him so
Was a beautiful pearl
All richly aglow.

Now the tale has a moral,
for isn’t it grand
What an oyster can do
With a morsel of sand?

What couldn’t we do
If we’d only begin
With some of the things
That get under our skin.

Author Unknown - Please comment if you know the author
 so credit can be given
Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
August 18, 2008

The child whispered, “God, speak to me.”
And a meadowlark sang
But the child did not hear.

So the child yelled, “God, speak to me!”
And the thunder rolled across the sky
But the child did not listen.

The child looked around and said,
“God, let me see You.”
And a star shone brightly
But the child did not notice.

And the child shouted,”God show me a miracle!”
And a life was born but the child did not know.

So the child cried out in despair,
“Touch me God, and let me know You are here!”
Whereupon God reached down
And touched the child.

But the child brushed the butterfly away
And walked away unknowingly.

 

Author -  Ravindra Kumar Karnani
Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
August 14, 2004

I’ve never made a fortune,
and it’s probably too late now.
But I don’t worry about that much,
I’m happy anyhow

And as I go along life’s way,
I’m reaping better than I sowed.
I’m drinking from my saucer,
‘Cause my cup has overflowed.

Haven’t got a lot of riches,
and sometimes the going’s tough
But I’ve got loving ones all around me,
and that makes me rich enough.

I thank God for his Blessings,
and the Mercies He’s bestowed.
I’m drinking from my saucer,
‘Cause my cup has overflowed.

I remember times when things went wrong,
My faith wore somewhat thin.
But all at once the dark clouds broke,
and the sun peeped through again.

So Lord, help me not to gripe,
about the tough rows I have hoed.
I’m drinking from my saucer,
‘Cause my cup has overflowed.

If God gives me strength and courage,
When the way grows steep and rough.
I’ll not ask for other blessings,
I’m already Blessed enough.

And may I never be too busy,
to help others bear their loads..
Then I’ll keep drinking from my saucer,
‘Cause my cup has overflowed.

Author Unknown - Please comment if you know the author
 so credit can be given
Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
April 15, 2011

How often we wish for another chance
to make a fresh beginning.
A chance to blot out our mistakes
And change failure into winning.
It does not take a new day
To make a brand new start,
It only takes a deep desire
To try with all our heart.
To live a little better
And to always be forgiving
And to add a little sunshine
To the world in which we’re living.
So never give up in despair
And think that you are through,
For there’s always a tomorrow
And the hope of starting new.

Author – Helen Steiner Rice

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