"Accept your failures without accepting defeat."
- Tim Wakefield, RedSox knuckleball pitcher 1995-2011
On Tuesday your daddy & I had the honor of meeting Tim Wakefield. Yes, that's a picture of me shaking his hand on the front page of the paper. I was telling him that your Papi has been a diehard Redsox fan for over 50 years & that Tim Wakefield is his favorite RedSox pitcher of all time. A big smile spread across his face as I shared that with him. You can't see it, but there was a big smile spreading across my face as well. I was shaking hands with a legend.
After meeting Wakefield, we were able to view a screening of the Knuckleball!, a fascinating documentary about the history & survival of knuckleball pitchers. The knuckleball has mostly been an undervalued pitch & watching the story of these pitcher's remarkable journey was thought provoking & touching.
Wakefield didn't even start out in professional baseball as a pitcher. He was originally a first baseman who had a hard time hitting with wooden bats. He was discovered as a knuckleballer one day when he was just playing around with the pitch. Becoming a knuckleballer was something he had to do in order to remain playing the game he loved. His pursuit as a knuckleballer wasn't easy. In a world that values speed, accuracy, & numerical accountability, Wakefield threw a ball so slow & unpredictable that no one wanted anything to do with it. Yet, with over 200 career wins, Wakefield has also been one of the most successful pitchers of all time, & certainly your Papi & my RedSox favorite.
Wakefield answered questions after the screening. It was an honor and an inspiration to be in the room as he spoke. One of the most powerful things he told us was to "accept your failures without accepting defeat." What an amazing message. So many of us are afraid to try & fail. If we can accept our failures without accepting defeat, maybe we can learn from our failures & try again. Maybe failures can be learning experiences that will help us to be a better version of ourselves. Maybe we need to fail a little to truly succeed.
I hope that your world is full of heros to learn from & look up to. I hope they encourage you to dream big, do your best, & know there is nothing you can't do. I know Wakefield has been one of those people for me. What an amazing experience it was to shake his hand, see him smile, & listen to his words.
I love you so,