This past Sunday I heard Clint Hurdle speak at my church. Clint is the general manager of the National League Champion Colorado Rockies. I took several pages of notes. He had lots of good stuff to share.
Winning the National League Championship was “truly magical and truly humbling.” “I’ve been embraced by so many people in Denver and Colorado. I was always embraced by the people on our cul de sac…”
“There are two kinds of people,” he said, “those who are humble and those who are about to be.”
One of the things I liked most about Clint was that he was both humble and self-effacing. He didn’t tell us what we needed to know; he told us what he had learned. He is a person who has gleaned wisdom from his life experiences.
Sports Illustrated wrote a piece on the faith of the Rockies and said you were more likely to find a bible in the locker room than a Playboy.
Clint was overt in his faith. “We believed as long as we remained faithful we’d be blessed. We didn’t know how or when. It takes courage to be patient in today’s society. God was the filter to all our decisions: ‘Would this be pleasing to God?'”
Pastor Mark Shupe interviewed Clint. He asked, “What do you say to people who say it would have been a perfect ending if you’d won the World Series?”
“I’d say they’re right!” was his immediate response. He went on to say that there is no entitlement, only opportunity. “We didn’t feel sorry for the Diamondbacks or San Diego when we beat them, so we didn’t expect Boston to feel sorry for us when they won.”
Clint Hurdle–and I’ve not met him in person–seems to have a very clear sense of priorities and sense of himself. It wasn’t, according to him, always that way. He was a star right out of high school and called a phenom when he played for the Kansas City Royals, but he made a lot of mistakes he regrets. A low point, he says, was when he realized “…I’m breaking people’s hearts everywhere I walked. I’m not proud that I’m twice divorced but it is part of my story.”
“I was a people-pleaser. I used to spend money to buy things I didn’t need to impress people I didn’t like.”
Then he said, “I don’t have anything or anyone to blame it on except the choices I made.”
Those words earned my utmost respect. No excuses. No blame. No whining about circumstances. What he said, in my opinion, is the essence of character.
His wife Carla influenced him greatly to recommit his life to Christ. He had become a Christian in high school but, as he says, “kept Jesus in my wallet and brought him out a couple times a week.”
“When I asked Carla to marry me, she said ‘Until you find a way to make you happy you don’t have a chance to make me happy.'”
Married now with two small children, Clint says his wife gives him five minutes when he comes home at the end of the day to decompress from managing a professional baseball team and “…then it is time to be husband and dad.”
Clint and I attend the same large church. I’ve probably seen him a dozen times before and didn’t know it. He just blends in. He is an ordinary guy who continues to do extraordinary things. His prayer, he says (and now one of my prayers as well): “Lord, help me be a simple man in a complex world.”