Everyone Can Learn A Bit From The Captain

July 10, 2014
Derek Jeter

As a kid, I was raised to hate the Green Bay Packers, Los Angeles Lakers and the New York Yankees. That’s how it was.

Well, let me clear that up a bit. When I was younger, I hated these teams. It’s true. At 10 years old, what else did I have going on? I collected baseball cards, argued with my friends about anything sports-related and ran away from any female I encountered for fear of the cooties virus they carried.

At age 24, I kind of wish I was 10 again, at least when it comes to how I feel about my favorite sports teams. There’s nothing I can do when it comes to my favorite teams. I can cheer, eat my Doritos and complain about my team’s coach. That’s about as far as my control goes, sadly.

10-year-old Kyle is rolling his eyes in disgust.

There are a few things that I know for a fact. Green Bay fans are obnoxious and if I hear about the “Ted Thompson Way” one more time, I’ll puke.

Los Angeles took the Lakers away from Minnesota and didn’t even change the team name in the process. As far as I know, there are three lakes in Los Angeles.

(Yes, I had to look that up.)

The creators of “John Carter” even think the Yankees spend too much money in order to build a winner. Unlike “John Carter”, though, the Yankees have actually won.

But on those teams, there’s always a player that I’ve warmed up to a bit. On the Packers, it was Brett Favre. On the Lakers, it was Kobe Bryant. And on the Yankees, it’s Derek Jeter.

For those of you who follow baseball, you’re probably aware that Captain Jetes played his last regular season game in Minneapolis on Sunday afternoon. Jeter isn’t nearly the player he once was. He’s hitting .273 (38 points lower than his career average) and he’s arguably the worst defensive short stop in the league.

During his prime, though, Jeter was such a joy to watch on the field. His opposite-field hits. His classic “Jeter” play from short. This freaking play against the Oakland Athletics:

Now, it’s what he does off the field that really puts things into perspective for me. Jeter says the right things. Everything we know about him tells us that he’s extremely hard working and is the ultimate team player. He starts working early and ends late, whether it’s at the park or at home. He’s a winner. Not because he’s obsessed with it, but because he’s put so much time into his profession, it would be silly to not want to reach the absolute pinnacle.

I’m pretty sure Jeter hasn’t had to work much off the field or in a business environment, but the way he acts day in and day out should be a reminder of just how to go about goals in life, whether your goal is at work or at home. Work hard. You don’t necessarily have to be a leader with your voice, but show it with your actions. That’s how Jeter has done it.

Nobody’s perfect and everyone has lapses here and there. We are humans. Breaks should be allowed, but we have to pick our battles.

This season is Jeter’s last battle, but luckily for baseball fans in Minnesota, he’ll be in the Twin Cities one more time next week for the 2014 All-Star Game as the American League’s starting shortstop. Based on his performance this season, he doesn’t deserve to be an All-Star, but that’s an argument for another day. His attitude and preparation off the field has him in the game. There’s something to be said for that.