The other night I had the chance to go see Cal Ripken Jr. get inducted into the baseball International League Hall of Fame. It is the minor league version of the real hall of fame and is really nothing more than a traveling plaque. For those that don’t know Cal Ripken Jr. was a major league baseball player who played for the Baltimore Orioles and besides many MVP and Golden Glove awards he holds the record for the most consecutive games played – 2, 632. This is a record I doubt will ever be broken.
The event took place before the local minor league game here the other night and much like a little kid, I was excited to go and see the man himself. I watched him give interviews from the dugout and sign a ton of autographs. Sad to say I didn’t get one and was only as close as about 10 feet away.
As the ceremony began I was hoping to hear something great, or powerful, that I could take away from seeing Cal Ripken Jr. – nicknamed “The Iron Man.” In this aspect I was not disappointed. As one of his first managers spoke he shared a story that has been very much on my mind the rest of the week. He retold the tale how on several occasions he had asked Cal to come out of the game or take a day off towards the end of the season. Cal continuously and politely refused. For whatever reason this seemed odd to his manager and so one day in the office he asked Cal about it. Cal told him, “When I first got called up I sat the bench. I made a promise to myself that if I ever got in the lineup I was never coming out.” That was in 1983. 2, 632 games later in 1998 Cal Ripken Jr.voluntarily ended his consecutive game streak and put an end to that promise.
To keep such a promise has just had me awe-struck all week. The conviction and tenacity that must take to make and keep that promise for that long speaks volumes to his character. No one else would have blinked an eye had he ever sat out a game here and there. But he made a promise to himself and kept himself accountable to that promise.
It has left me thinking what about us? What promise can we make to ourselves that we can and will keep and continuously hold ourselves accountable? I don’t know that it would be as widely known as setting a record that is seen and known across the world or that is viewed on a national level. But what promise do we make to ourselves that we will not break? One that we will not let ourselves out of easily? One that we will make a priority and continually move forward with each and every day? Is it our fitness goals? Is that something we continually strive for and stick to? Is it something greater than that, beyond the gym and fitness? It has left me thinking about just that this week and so I pose the question to you – what promise do you make to yourself, or have made to yourself that you keep, no matter what, and will not break?
Train hard. Make it count.