In June of 2010, Armando Galarraga was literally one out away from pitching a perfect game for the Detroit Tigers. A perfect game is a big deal; still one of the most amazing feats in professional baseball. Umpire Jim Joyce blew what should have been the final call of the game, calling a runner safe that the replay later showed was an out.
Joyce was tearful about the incident after he realized that he had made a mistake. He asked to meet with Galarraga after the game ended. When Galarraga came into the room, Joyce apologized sincerely. They hugged each other and Galarraga said, “I understand.” Galarraga later defended Joyce to the press.
The league gave Joyce the opportunity to take the next game off, but he refused. Before the game, he said he was ready to be booed. He said, “I’ll take it. I’ll take whatever you can give me, and I’ll handle it like a man, and I’ll do the best I can.”
As a younger man, I thought that the key to success in life was to never make mistakes. Every mistake obviously became a threat to that plan. Perfectionism sounds like the sort of answer you give to that classic interview question “what is your greatest weakness?” But when it reaches the point where a single mistake or misstep results in a negative spiral that can last for days, it does become a critical weakness.
I now believe that one of the key characteristics of someone living a successful life is the ability to get back on the wagon. To pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and keep going. To take your lumps, handle it, and do the best you can.
Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying “I will try again tomorrow.”Mary Anne Radmacher