Bill Ripken always likes to say, “without a Sr., there wouldn’t be a Jr.—and not just in the biological sense.” Certainly, without their father, Bill and Cal would not only not have been born, but they wouldn’t have become the people they are today. The Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation wouldn’t exist and I wouldn’t get to come to work every day with amazing people and help kids seize their own potential.
Today is national “I am a mentor” day. In fact, January is National Mentoring Month. Whether you’re coaching basketball, teaching math or simply keeping your door open, you’re a mentor. Or at least you have the opportunity to be someone’s Cal, Sr. every time those kids show up at the field, at the gym, at class—or simply knocks on your office door. But since you’re here, I’m pretty sure you’ve already made the choice to be the type of coach who builds big league people.
I’m also fairly certain that your decision to be a mentor was inspired by at least one person in your life. Today, we wanted to honor a few and share the not-so-secret secrets to building big league people. We asked a few of the coaches we work with to share their stories:
Vinny D’Amato, President, Babe Ruth Little League – Poughkeepsie NY:
“My mentor was my older brother, Jerry D'Amato. He taught me how to talk to people and how to give respect and command it back. One point he would always tell me was to deliver bad news to your team in the same manner you deliver good news. Face to face. Jerry is no longer here with us but I remember those conversations we had and reflect on them quite often.”
SSG Marcus A. Jackson, Maryland National Guard:
“My mentor was Gil Holmes, he became my mentor when I came back home from basic training and helped me get more involved in my church and just gave me great life lessons. He seemed to be more invested in my life that I did myself. He saw something great in me and encouraged me to want to be great. I learned [from him] how to be a humble person and that life is not about my needs, but how I can best help others.
Who was your Cal, Sr.? What made them such an uncommon person? What did you learn from them that you practice as a coach or a mentor?