October 2010

One thing that has always struck me is the similarity among people who excel, however different the technicalities of their profession may be. In a recent article in The New York Times, "Tribute to a Hero in Twilight,” Charles McGrath gives an example that I find both deeply moving and deeply pertinent to us.

Fifty years ago, at the age of 42, the baseball immortal Ted Williams hit a home run the very last time he was at bat—a remarkable finale to a career that spanned 21 years, 7706 times at bat and 521 home runs.
In a ballpark that seated 37,000, only about 10,000 people were there to witness Williams’ “final bow.” One of them, however, was the writer John Updike, who went on to publish a now famous tribute to the ballplayer—his first, only (and by all accounts unsurpassed) essay on the sport.   

Updike, McGrath tells us, identified with the legendary ballplayer because many of the skills Williams had perfected (like focus and perseverance) are also demanded of great writers (and, I’d add, of anyone who aspires to achieve great things).
Most importantly of all, in my eyes, he found in Williams the essence of “the tissue-thin difference between a thing done well and a thing done ill.”

That difference was caring.

That, to me, is what the journey of our Medical Center is all about: each of us caring about what we do…striving to apply, to the maximum, whatever talents we’ve been given…and sustaining that degree of caring day in and day out…no matter how many (or how few) people are in the stands watching.