Sunday diversion has to feature The Great Rivera

still baseball season, of course

No need to get into a discussion of whether Mariano Rivera is ‘the greatest closer ever’ in Major League baseball (the 9th-inning [only] closer being a fairly recent development) but we can all agree that he has been One Heck Of A Reliever. Personally, I like to remember the way Jon Miller would intone it on Sunday Night Baseball a few years back: The Great Rivera. Obviously, with Rivera retiring this year and all the tributes in all the ballparks and all over the media and inter-tubes, there is no shortage of Rivera attention, even adulation.

But if you missed Ian O’Connor’s piece from ESPN-NY you should do yourself a favor.  Much like a certain religious figure I could mention, Rivera does not appear to present himself as a saint, or even as someone better than you, me, or the next guy.Yet he really seems (I hope the hype is real) to value the interactions he has with people (regular people, if you will). While he has the rare ability to seem genuinely interested in each person as a person, and to take some time to go out of his way to interact with people who might appreciate the opportunity to talk to him, the key (for me) to the O’Connor piece is the impact he has on the ‘regular’ people he talks to.

Rivera puts his fame to good use by talking to people in such a way that they feel inspired by him to deal with the (often trying) circumstances of their lives. Read the piece.One thing it reminded me is that each of us has the ability to (as they say) commit random acts of kindness and that we may never know the impact they may have on people. Whether it is to inspire them to commit similar acts, or to just remember you well, these deposits at The International Bank of Karma are things you may be able to draw on later.

Permit me a personal story …. A day or two after I read the O’Connor piece and started thinking about  featuring The Great Rivera in a diversion not focused on his pitching career, I was in a favorite bar with my daughter and her friend. Our lubricated host took the occasion to remember, and thank me, for a simple act I had long since forgotten. It seems that 20+ years ago, back when I had regular Sunday Plan seats at Yankee Stadium, I gave him my pair of tickets one afternoon so that he and his wife could take  their then-infant son to his first Yankees game. No way would I remember something like that, but he remembered well enough to try to impress my daughter (23?) years later.

The point is not about The Wonderfulness Of Me (I could not use the tickets; they didn’t cost much), but that every day we have opportunities to relate to people in what are (to us) small ways that can, somehow, some day, be the basis of a wonderful memory for them, or even better, to make a true difference in their lives.Use your power for good, my friends.

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