Act like you’ve done it before • 27 January 2009

From Ryne’s Sandberg’s 2005 acceptance speech at the Baseball Hall of Fame. Smarmy conservative David Brooks quotes this in today’s sort of beautiful column on social reproduction.  I’m for trusting your experience as the first and last word. But: doing that within the context of others’ experiences over time. Institutional structure and tradition are crusty-sweet old romantic gifts.

[Wo]man makes h[er] own history! But not under conditions of her own choosing.

I have to admit this gives life meaning, and offers to prevent one's becoming a self-congratulatory ass. Here's Sandberg:

“I was in awe every time I walked onto the field. That’s respect. I was taught you never, ever disrespect your opponents or your teammates or your organization or your manager and never, ever your uniform. You make a great play, act like you’ve done it before; get a big hit, look for the third base coach and get ready to run the bases.”

“Respect. A lot of people say this honor validates my career, but I didn’t work hard for validation. I didn’t play the game right because I saw a reward at the end of the tunnel. I played it right because that’s what you’re supposed to do, play it right and with respect…. If this validates anything, it’s that guys who taught me the game … did what they were supposed to do, and I did what I was supposed to do.”


  • Posted 27 January 2009 at 8:22 pm | #

    I just clicked over to here… DIRECTLY from the NYT where I was reading Brooks’ column and thinking about these ideas in terms of both academia and ashtanga… you read my mind… I like the idea of practicing these things with respect and trying to do them correctly, not for external validation, but for the honor of the institution.

  • Posted 28 January 2009 at 5:19 am | #

    Sally! You’re still there. I had no idea but it is good to know I’m reading your mind without even knowing it. It’s true that I have a clairvoyance problem.

    I hope you are doing well and still hope to meet you at a conference one of these years…

  • knl
    Posted 28 January 2009 at 11:27 am | #

    I’m not sure it’s clairvoyance, but I was thinking something similar as I reentered France. Relieved by what I feel is the european limit on “specialness.” Unlike us Americans, it’s slightly unseemly here in France to act so “special.” Acting “comme il faut,” is all you really need to do. It’s a relief. Perhaps this is sort of what Sandberg was talking about.

  • meniscusmerangue
    Posted 28 January 2009 at 11:55 am | #

    Is it only in America that this stuff needs to be spelled out?

  • RE
    Posted 28 January 2009 at 2:56 pm | #

    Yes. Yes yes yes yes yes. It it so simple and yet so difficult.

  • Posted 28 January 2009 at 6:30 pm | #

    What a fantastic quote- and so strange that we’re both thinking about validation. I was just writing about it, but about other things.

    “play it right and with respect”- what better words to live by?

  • Posted 28 January 2009 at 7:11 pm | #

    Yes, still here – I love this stop on my daily www wanderings… finished my dissertation!! And stopped my blog in its infancy in order to do so, maybe I should take it up again one of these days… I’m now in the US – in the city of brotherly love – doing a postdoc… And I am going to ICA again this year, any chance that I will see you there?

  • Posted 28 January 2009 at 7:32 pm | #

    K, if I have it right, that explains where you went. I guess I’m not so clairvoyant. Welcome to Paris. I hope it’s excellent.

    RE birthday love, you know I don’t get this baseball thing, but I thought you might. xx

    Sally, that is wonderful! This is a very good time and place for a postdoc, and a very tough year to secure one. I am trying to be unidisciplinary, minimize my Communications chops, focus on the Sociology. So no Chicago in May. But keep reading a few months. I might surprise you. Hope you have enjoyed the neo-Sutra in downtown Philly.

    The having-a-history thing actually does have to be spelled out here. Our ideology if individualism is so fine-grained. The story we tell for everything good is that it’s the source of enterprising inventiveness and disdain for all received wisdom. Kind of the opposite of the traditional Indian idea of legitimacy—where you smuggle in new ideas on banana leaves and call them someone else’s. This hyperindividualist story seems to be the greatest source of annoyance, culture shock and disillusionment for non-Americans who settle here, regardless of where they come from.

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