The second half of August was an exciting time for those of us in the Nashville area because we were represented in the Little League World Series (LLWS) by a team from Goodlettsville (north side of Nashville). By the way, the LLWS is a true “world” series—half of the teams are international.
Led by Jayson Brown, Brock Myers, Lorenzo Butler and manager Joey Hale, Goodlettsville had a great run, won the U.S.championship, and lost only to the “megatron” team from Tokyo, Japan, in the finals.
Between games, the Goodlettsville players spent their time hanging out with the other teams, most notably the team from Lugazi, Uganda; the first ever appearance of a Ugandan team in the LLWS.
Earlier this week, I was listening to a sports talk radio show that did a 3-months-later interview with manager Hale. What was the primary topic of discussion? Uganda.
Manager Hale shared a conversation one of his players had with a player from Uganda. Actually, it wasn’t so much a conversation as a question: “Why do Americans complain so much? You have everything.”
In Uganda, the per capita GDP is $477 per year—about $1.30 per day; in the U.S., it is 100X as much ($48,000 per year).
In Uganda, the life expectancy is 53 years; in the U.S., it is 78 years.
In Uganda, 61 out of every 1000 babies born die; in the U.S. it is 6 out of 1000.
In Uganda, people die of starvation; in the U.S., we die from overeating.
In the U.S., we complain if our cable TV or internet connection is lost for a few minutes; in Uganda, millions live with no electricity at all.
In the U.S., we complain because the water “tastes funny” in Florida (I’m guilty); in Uganda, well…you know what the water story is in Africa.
In the U.S., most of us have 10-20 pairs of shoes; the team from Uganda practiced in their bare feet because they couldn’t get used to wearing shoes (which they had to do in the games).
In the U.S., we complain about…enough already.
My purpose in writing this is not to make you feel guilty. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. Instead of complaining so much, wouldn’t it be a really good idea for us to all be truly thankful for what we have and how we are blessed?
Why don’t you sneak off to a back room tomorrow and spend 15 minutes alone, making a list of 50 things you are really thankful for. Simple things like clean water, central heat and air, indoor toilets, etc.
Also, take a few minutes to thank God, the giver of “life and breath and all things.”
Let tomorrow be a “no complaining” day. I’m going to try. (I might even like it.)
By the way, the Goodlettsville LL Association has adopted the Uganda LL team and is providing them with equipment, etc. They want to go to Uganda next year to encourage the fledgling Uganda program. Want to help? Check it out at www.goodlettsvillebaseball.com.
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© Copyright 2012 by Dick Wells, The Hard Lessons Company
"The best way to lead people into the future is to connect with them deeply in the present."
Kouzes & Posner