What does it mean to be UNCOMMON?

Mar 12, 2014

Remarkable, exceptional, out of the ordinary, rare…these are all words that you find in the definition for uncommon. Uncommon people are everywhere you look. Cal, Jr. and Bill were fortunate enough to have a father who was an uncommon man who taught them uncommon principles. It didn’t matter what the job was; nothing was too big or small for Cal Ripken, Sr.  Often times you would find him dragging the infield before a game, or driving the team bus afterwards. Cal, Sr. valued certain lessons in life, and he made sure that he instilled these values in his children and players whenever he could.

Bill and Cal, Jr. took their father’s values and lessons to heart. They took this uncommon way of living and, with their family, created something that would carry on the legacy of Cal, Sr. for years to come.  They based the four core principles of the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation off of their father’s coaching style: celebrate the individual, explain the why, keep it simple, and make it fun.  This is what we call “The Ripken Way” and it’s how we do what we do.

This year at the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation, we wanted to expand upon these four core principles. We talk about coaching “The Ripken Way,” but what kind of people are we helping our kids become?  Inspired by Cal, Sr. and many other uncommon people, we decided to focus on the idea of being uncommon. What makes these people uncommon?  What choices do they make? We came up with these four principles:

Aim above the mark. An uncommon person will always aim higher, they will choose right over easy, and they know that there’s only one way to be the person whom they aspire to be!

Ask why. By asking why, an uncommon person can learn, understand, and make sure they’re headed in the direction they want to go. Uncommon people also ask why not.  Why can’t things be better than they are right now?  Why can’t I be better? They don’t just ask questions to hear themselves speak, but they learn from their questions.

Grow your team. It is easy to choose sides, but the uncommon choice is to recognize that we are all in this together, to reach out to others, and to go for the team win over the individual win. Growing your team also means making the team stronger by helping the people around you become even better. An uncommon person recognizes that the game can be bigger than themselves and it’s the impact they leave on others that is more important.

Commit and follow through. An uncommon person will be who they say they are and will do what they say they will do. It is not enough to choose; you must act on your decision. One of the hardest things to do is to commit to something and follow through with that action, but an uncommon person doesn’t let anything deter them.

Uncommon people are all around us. They hold the doors for us at the bank, they sit down at lunch with the “new” kid, they spend their Saturday afternoons teaching kids how to play baseball. They challenge the common norm. They are in the newspapers, on TV, but they are also sitting right next to us at the dinner table, or across from us at the mall. An uncommon person aims higher, asks why, goes for the team win, and they commit to something and follow through with that goal. Just last month, the Foundation honored Bob Hurley at the Aspire Gala. Coach Hurley is a perfect example of an individual who embodies the uncommon way:

Who is that uncommon person in your life? Who is that mentor in your life who taught you those uncommon lessons that made you the person you are today?