An essay in An Effort to Understand discusses my “Ron Santo Rule of Communication,” that says we adore people—famous people, and people in our lives; over the long haul, and day-to-day—who have the courage to declare exactly what it is they want, and to express just how bad they want it.
After a career in which he played all out despite suffering from diabetes …
… Santo regularly and passionately begged the Baseball Hall of Fame to let him in. Though he wasn’t elected until after his death—and after both legs had been amputated—his heart-on-the-sleeve desire contributed to the lovability that gave him a livelihood in broadcasting despite his meager gifts as a baseball announcer.
When former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Drew Pearson was snubbed by the Pro Football Hall of Fame earlier this year, he didn’t try to hide his pain. “Man, it hurts. They broke my heart.”
We think that life teaches us never to show our bellies like that.
I think fear teaches us that—fear we learn during our young childhoods and master during our teenage years and struggle to shake for the rest of our lives.
Fear of being a “try hard,” as the kids say these days. Fear of people knowing for sure we wanted a thing and didn’t get it. Fear of not being cool—no, fear of being not cool.
But adulthood, if we watch and listen—and if we manage to surround ourselves with loved ones like Drew Pearson has there in his kitchen with him—teaches us the opposite.
Don’t you think?