By Gary Miller
(This is one of my favorite stories from a few years ago. I thought I’d share it again.)
In the outdoor world, not every lesson has to come from hunting and fishing. Take the recent events in Major League Baseball. Just last week Armando Galarraga was pitching the perfect game. He had retired the first 26 batters and when the final man hit an infield grounder, everyone was certain the perfect game was intact. Then came the call at first. The call was “safe” even though the runner was clearly out. The pitcher looked in disbelief at what had just happened. It was not until he looked at the replay did he realize how bad the call was missed.
And after looking at that same replay, the umpire, Jim Joyce, understood that he had made the wrong call and had taken a once-in-a-lifetime chance away from a young pitcher. What happened next is a lesson for all of us. After acknowledging his mistake, Joyce made his way to the Detroit Tigers locker room. There he met Galarraga and apologized with tears for his error. Instead of meeting that heartfelt confession with animosity, the pitcher hugged the umpire and told him, “We all make mistakes.” Because of how Galarraga responded to Joyce, the rest of the baseball world followed suit and welcomed the repentant umpire back with open arms, understanding, and forgiveness.
It is truly amazing what can happen when one party is willing to say “I’m sorry” and the other is willing to respond; “I forgive you.” It takes both parties being willing to shed the chest protector of pride and the mask of arrogance and face each other with humility and consideration.
Can you imagine what the outcry would have been if Galarraga “demanded his rights,” or if Joyce would have stood unflinchingly by his call? The baseball community would have been in an uproar. But because two individuals took the high road, the rest of the sports world has taken notice of true sportsmanship. Because two individuals took the high road, perhaps the rest of us will be reminded of just how important it is to say “I’m sorry” and “I forgive you.”
Gary Miller can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org