With Memorial Day this past Monday, it was great timing for a group of players, coaches and I to visit the Naval Special Warfare Unit in Coronado, CA. One of the most eye-opening experiences that any of us have ever had. There was a group of potential SEALS that were in their second week of seeing if they have the right stuff. 35 had already "rang the bell" and decided that it wasn't for them. The group was pulling themselves off the beach, carrying their rafts when we got there. They were in day 2, week 2 of a 4 week "weeding out" course that challenged their minds as much as their bodies. If they make it through the 4 week trial, they then will have to endure one more week long test. They will be allowed to have 4 hours sleep total in those 7 days, (2 hours on Wednesday and 2 on Thursday) as they are put through more mental and physical testing. All of this, just to be one of the select few that are honored with the SEAL name.
As we spent the day, talking with veteran members of the established SEAL teams, it was obvious that these men had something "different" about them. One of the most obvious traits was the humility that they had in conversation, and the genuine love they have for their teammates, and their country. I was fortunate to spend some time with one gentleman who had been active on multiple different SEAL teams, and had been a team leader and an instructor. I asked him what were the characteristics that he commonly saw in the men who ended up making it through the process and being selected. His response blew me away. He said that "There are 5 things these men MUST have in order to be a SEAL:
1) They must be physically tough. (He followed this by saying that this is the easiest of the qualities to find.)
2)They must be mentally tough
3)They must be morally tough. (He described this as doing the RIGHT thing, all the time...even when nobody is looking.
4)They must believe that the needs of the team are greater than the needs of themselves individually.
5)They must be humble.
What a great list, and it is no coincidence that this is just about the exact same list that I gave my guys in spring training, as I listed out the things I believe to be most important for us to have a winning team.
What does this have to do with baseball and coaching kids? Nothing really, except that I believe this just reinforces the need for coaches to begin to help raise up high character kids. They may not be destined for the Big Leagues, but they just may make a difference in the Board Room, and may even be a modern day hero that fights for our freedom.
A big "Thank-You" to all the vets out there who sacrificed more than we can understand, so many of us can live in a great country that is truly free. You are the ones that should be asked for your autograph everyday.
Thank you for serving us.