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Gen Y and Colin, at the Bat

Posted by Colin Kingsbury

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Apr 24, 2007 10:24:00 AM

The Recruiting Animal continues his campaign against Myths of Generation Y over at RecruitingBloggers.com asking whether kids today aren't being raised too soft. The Animal cites a WSJ article which says that today's young workers need constant spoon-feeding of praise for even the smallest achievement lest they "fold up like a cell phone." 

One of my more vivid memories growing up involves an annual father-son softball game my elemetary school held around this time of year. This school was definitely "Old School" in the sense that competition was encouraged and part of that was failure, which received as much public attention as success. Keeping in that spirit, the father-son softball game involved, you guessed it, the fathers versus the sons. Bear in mind that this place was grades 5-8, so the competition was hardly fair to begin with.

As I stood at bat, the pitcher lobbed me an absolute meatball right down the line. I am not going to be humble--I crushed that pitch like Alex Rodriguez and it went sailing off towards the trees at the end of the field. The crowd actually gasped in awe, and most of the fathers just stared up at it as it passed far overhead.

All Except one. Mine.

My father, no less a non-athlete than myself, went running off, faster than I've ever seen him run, before or since. As the ball falls back down from the stratosphere, he leaps--leaps, by God--and makes an over-the-shoulder-backwards catch of the sort that thirty years earlier would have gotten him signed to a double-A baseball team. The crowd, gasps in awe again, and then realizes that it wasn't just an impossible hit topped by an impossible catch, it was my dad who made the catch. Even the opposing team's coach slapped me on the back and says "that's the worst robbery I've ever seen."

To be fair, within about five seconds my dad looked like the cat who ate the canary. He'll never forget it, and I'll never forgive him for it, but what was he supposed to do, drop the ball?