A Lesson from Jeff Banister

I want to tell you about Jeff Banister. He is a former baseball player, manager, and coach. He spent years working for the Texas Rangers and Pittsburg Pirates, but only ever played in one major league baseball game.

When Jeff was in high school he developed bone cancer and almost had to have his leg amputated. He recovered and moved on to play college baseball where he broke three vertebrae in his neck during a collision at home plate. He was paralyzed for days before making a full recovery and being named a Junior College All-American the very next season. Jeff was drafted by the Pirates, playing mostly minor league games before his first and only major league appearance on July 23, 1991.

Jeff had one appearance at the plate, he hit a single, and never got another chance at bat. Of all the amazing lessons one could learn from this man’s ongoing resiliency and strength, my favorite lesson comes from the following quote.

We aren’t promised a second at bat.

Jeff likely didn’t know that would be his only chance to hit in the major leagues, but probably he knew it could be. He embraced the moment he’d spent years working towards and made the most of it. I believe his history of overcoming difficult situations also gave Jeff the perspective to truly value and maximize the present moment.

Each day is our chance at bat. It’s our chance to live in that moment, put forth our very best effort, and leave our legacy. So today, as you step up to the plate, I encourage you to approach it as though it is the dream you have been working towards for your entire life. Today is your big day in the majors and you aren’t promised a second at bat.

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