Do The Hustle
Two of my favorite athletes of all time in professional sports are Pete Rose and Bill Bates. There are others that I have admired throughout the years, but when I think about who influenced me as a young athlete, these two stand out.
Most people know the name Pete Rose. 4,256 hits, Charlie Hustle, part of the Big Red Machine, gambling, NOT in the Hall of Fame. It was the “ Charlie Hustle” that made me a fan.
Growing up a Mets fan in the 70’s, I saw the “Big Red Machine” dismantle my Mets many of times. There was one player on that famous Reds team that stood out-Pete Rose. Nicknamed “Charlie Hustle” for the hustle he always exhibited on the field, Pete played baseball like a football player…and I love it. There are iconic pictures and video of Pete sliding head-first into third base and viciously taking out the catcher on plays at home plate. Once even, Pete got into a fight with one of my Mets, Buddy Harrelson. Apparently, Pete was trying to disrupt a double play by sliding aggressively into Buddy at second base. The double play was turned, but let’s say Pete got the best of Buddy on that play regardless! No doubt about it, Pete Rose was a BEAST!
My favorite story about Pete Rose occurred early in his MLB career. After going 3 for 4 on this one day, Pete met his father after the game. His father had attended the game and was in the stands to watch his son. Pete’s dad asked him what happened on his second at bat. Pete said he hit a routine ground ball in the infield and was thrown out. Pete’s father said “no, why did you jog to first base?” Pete said again because it was a routine ground ball. He knew he would be thrown out. Pete’s father said something like, “Don’t you ever do that again! You embarrassed me. You run hard no matter what!” From that day on, Pete sprinted to first base every single time…for the rest of his major league career which lasted 23 years. Pete and his father were BEASTS!
Unless you are a Dallas Cowboys fan, or a true football fan that watched football in the 80’s and 90’s, you don’t know the name Bill Bates. Bill went undrafted in the 1983 NFL draft but was fortunate enough to sign with his favorite team as an undrafted free agent. It was a long shot for him to make the team, but his hustle and determination were noticed by the great Tom Landry. Not only did he make the roster, Bill was named the NFC special teams player of the year as a rookie and made the Pro Bowl his second year for special teams. From there on he started at strong safety and was on 3 SuperBowl teams.
But again, it was the hustle that I saw.
I so admired the way Bill played that I wore his number in high school. Number 40. I also happened to be a strong safety as well. Bill wasn’t the biggest or the best athlete on the field, but he gave 100% every time he stepped on the field. Again, I tried to emulate Bill. Bill was definitely a BEAST.
Last year for my 50th birthday I was fortunate to finally visit the Dallas Cowboys new stadium and see a game. Prior to the game we went to bar-b-que hosted by none other than…Bill Bates! I got to meet Bill and say a couple words about how he was my favorite player, I wore his number and thanked him for being inspiring. It all meant a lot to me.
Without a doubt the common denominator between Pete and Bill is hustle. I admire that. I think it was my father that showed me what hustle was and I appreciated it, even at a young age. He was a hard working man who never did things half way. He hustled. He still is a BEAST even at almost 90!
I have been told a few times recently and many times over the years that I was the hardest worker in the gym. I don’t know how to quantify that, but I certainly appreciate it. I see a lot of people working hard. Really hard. Women especially! I love it! I appreciate the hustle! But I think it’s part of the work ethic I was taught growing up. Plus, I’m seriously competitive and I am always competing with myself in my head. I have to work hard. What’s the point of not?
Peace & Hustle!
The Beast Life