Putting Your Talent to Use

“Your talent is God’s gift to you.  What you do with it is your gift back to God.”  Leo Buscaglia

Nearly a century ago, in 1920, he cracked 54 home runs, more than all but one other major league team!  The runner up that year, George Sisler, had just over a third of that number at 19 round trippers.

He went on to hit a career total of 714, a record that held until 1974.  So prolific a ballplayer was he that a candy bar carried his namesake. 

Whether it be the “Sultan of Swat,” “Colossus of Clout,” or “King of Crash” many would concur that George Herman “Babe” Ruth was the most dominating player to have ever graced America’s professional baseball diamonds.  What was it about Ruth that distinguished him from his contemporaries and still to this day holds him in the highest esteem?

Two research professors at Columbia University made it a mission to find out.  Following a game in 1921, Babe Ruth was shepherded out of Yankee Stadium and into the research lab for a battery of tests.  The objective:  to determine how and why his skills were unparalleled. 

The tests included a series of not only motor function and pencil-paper examinations, but also exercises in which Ruth assumed his hitting stance and responded to bat and ball stimuli.  The results were remarkable even considering the more rudimentary nature of scientific study that existed then. 

The findings revealed:

·       Babe Ruth’s eyes and ears functioned more rapidly than those of other players.
·       His brain recorded sensations more quickly and transmitted its orders to the muscles much faster than did that of the average man.
·       His coordination of eye, brain, nerve system, and muscle was practically perfect.
·       His eyes were about 12% faster than the average human being.
·       His ears functioned 10% faster.
·       His nerves were steadier than 499 out of 500 individuals sampled.
·       In attention and quickness of perception he rated one and half times above the human average.

Babe Ruth was an original:  an icon whose feats have lived through the ages.  He left behind a legacy so ingrained that Yankee Stadium continues to be referred to as “the house that Ruth built.”  Yet are not each of us unique, one-of-a-kinds?

Though we may not hit towering home runs or throw 100 mile an hour fastballs I believe we each possess a unique skill, a talent, hidden though it may be. 

I know a gentleman who restores and repairs clocks.  In this age of digitization and computerized timekeeping devices his skills might be labeled a dying art.  Maybe…unless you have a late 19th century antique wall clock in need of resurrection.

Our canine friends, like us, face aches and pains as they age.  Arthritis, degenerative vertebrae, and joint discomfort compromise quality of life.  Veterinary Chiropractic Practitioners have a special talent to alleviate Fido’s ricketiness and turn back the hands of time. 

At a super market works a young man with Down’s Syndrome.  He sacks groceries, a job involving significant interaction, yet a task that some would say lacks glamour.  This sacker, however, devised a plan to inject excitement into an otherwise mundane assignment.  For it is on a small piece of paper inserted into their grocery sack that each of bag boy Johnny’s customers receives a note with his “thought for the day.”  The market now has an unanticipated problem:  overcrowding at one very special check out line. 

So what do I have?  How am I special?  Who can use my skill or talent?  I can’t hit a baseball to save my life and don’t know the first thing about fixing a clock or adjusting a dog.  I lack Johnny’s creativity.     

I hear you.  I fall into the same category.  Probably my most salient talent is on display at major league baseball games.  When a player’s batting average is posted on the scoreboard, .265 for instance, and he gets a base hit in that at bat to go to .286 I know instantly that he now has 10 hits in 35 at bats.  If he gets a hit his next time up his average will go to .306, if not, down to .278. 

Can’t explain how I figure it out and don’t know what the career field is for that skill.  Maybe it parlays into work with a sports programming network.

The Seed Sower


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