I listened to an interview with a long time, well known comedian the other day. One part of the interview that caught my attention was when he reflected on getting his start in the stand-up comedy world. He said the real breakthrough came when a very well-known comedian asked him to be the opening act for a week long engagement in Las Vegas. That eventually turned into a recurring gig over the next few years.
What I didn’t know – and have never really given much thought – was why entertainers have openings acts. It’s not particularly that they need time fillers or warm-up acts. He said it got its start when promoters and record labels asked established entertainers to help newer entertainers gain some exposure and valuable experience. This tradition then carried over with the more established acts looking to help out the new kids on the block. Frankly, this could be money out of the pocket for these veteran entertainers, but in the bigger picture, it’s a way to give back.
Baseball coaches are great when it comes to helping those others in the profession and especially the younger guys coming up through the ranks. I’ve long maintained that what we do with Top Coach would be hard to replicate in other sports just because of the giving and very open nature of the men who fill the ranks.
So my thoughts this week are not meant so much to exhort or compel you to do something as it is a reminder of why baseball coaching in the amateur ranks is so fulfilling. We have a pursuit in which those involved are constantly looking for ways to help out others – even their competitors.
Just a friendly reminder, however – do not pass up on an opportunity to help those who are where you were. There are plenty of circumstances that will afford you the opportunity to give a newer coach or aspiring coach a chance to do something that will help him along. And when a young guy comes along with a request that you can reasonably accommodate, don’t be so quick to write him off because it might take a little administrative work or mentoring on your part.
Remember where you came from. Remember what makes this fraternity so great. Look for opportunities to help someone get a leg up.