Doing Work You’re Proud of May Be Enough

By Patrick McNerthney

A few years back my friend asked me to help him coach a little league baseball team filled with chocolate and booger covered 11-year-olds. Our conversation went like this:

Me: “I was a terrible baseball player.”

Josh: “Doesn’t matter.”

Me: “No, like really bad, especially hardball, I was afraid of the ball.”

Josh: “Doesn’t matter.”

Me: “I don’t know any baseball strategy, and I think it’s actually a boring sport.”

Josh: “Doesn’t matter.”

Me: “Well, I guess it gets me out of mowing the lawn on Saturdays. You just need a warm body, huh?”

Josh: “Great, you’re in, Babe.”

Me: “Don’t call me that.”

Josh: “Ruth?”

I glared.

(Pure terror.)

At the first practice this little six year old threw the ball so hard I thought my hand was going to explode. And those scheming miscreants figured out right away I didn’t know what I was doing. Which was fine, I just stayed positive, pointed out every player’s strength (no matter how existent or non-existent), and focused on breaking up the frequent, spontaneous wrestling matches in the dugout during the game.

The result of my heroic efforts? We were the best losing team in the league. 

The top two teams were REALLY good – absolutely bursting with talent (I suspect their coaches conducted some pre-season recruiting…just sayin’–I mean, how many six year olds chew?). But despite the gap in talent (unfortunately some of our boys shared my fear of the ball, which makes for a really bad hitter…or fielder…or anything to do with baseball, as it turns out). And guess who was  right behind them in the standings?  Yep. US! Alas, at the end of the season we lost in the first round of the championship tournament (that everyone gets invited to). Bummer. The team was crushed.

We did our best to point out the little things they accomplished (that are secretly big things): come-from-behind wins, never giving up, supporting each other through mistakes, and treating the other teams with respect. Maybe our kids listened; who knows? 

Which brings up a good point: sometimes we want to do what’s most impactful and flashy, regardless of how old we are. Win a city-wide tournament. Create an astonishing new magic trick. Make a presentation at work that brings a standing ovation. Invent a cure for some disease, or treatment for an illness. It could be anything…as long as it makes a BIG IMPACT.

(Who doesn’t want to make a splash?)

Now, to make a splash, to do what the odds say is impossible (or that which has never been done before) is remarkable. And it’s tempting to think this is our job. But the truth is, it’s not. 

At least it may not be our job today

Just like our baseball team, maybe instead the job is simply to lead, connect, and do work we’re proud of, regardless of the outcome. Which, ironically, sounds pretty remarkable, now that I say it out loud. 

Fine Art Miracles (FAM) helps caregivers deliver “remarkable” to their residents and loved ones every day through creative expression. It turns out the act of simply making helps the elderly, children with challenges, and anyone who needs assistance with daily living find a path to confidence, self-worth, joy, and relevance to their own community as well as the outside world.

Art Therapy, Music Therapy, Dance and Movement Therapy, Drama Therapy, Drumming and Exercise Therapy – and FAM’s host of other offerings, check ‘em out here – give you the chance to lead, connect, and do work you’re proud of, while giving those you care for, those who are suffering from social isolation, a chance to do the same. Pretty magical.

If you want to learn more, reach on out! FAM is happy to help.

Well, little league season is upon us, but I’m not coaching anymore. Mostly because my kid absolutely does NOT want to play. Turns out he’s scared of the ball – a chip off the old block! I couldn’t be more proud.


Skip to content