Storytelling at Work
January 18, 2020


There are entire years of my life I can barely remember, but I will never forget the nanosecond, as a 16-year old right fielder for Camp Scatico, when I got my only hit of the season.

It was a bullet up the middle, right through the pitcher's legs, over second base, and into center field before you could say "Duke Snider." Bam! It was a perfect hit. Seriously. A major crack of the bat. A single for the ages. Pete Rose-like. Derek Jeter-like. Tony Gwynn-like.

There were two outs at the time and my best friend, Matt Weinstein, our rather over-sized catcher, was on second. As soon as I made contact, Matt was off and running, heading to third, lumbering, as most catchers do, not all that quickly. Me? I sprinted out of the batters box and got to first in a flash, stunned that I now had a batting average and had earned the right to stand on first base and take it all in -- the glory, the accomplishment, the sense of timeless connection to all of the lead off hitters since the beginning of time -- "speedsters" was how people referred to us. "Table setters".

But Matt got thrown out at home! Truly. Really. I shit you not. My only chance for an RBI the entire season got gunned down at home by the maniac center fielder who must have been a relative of Roberto Clemente. Yup. Big Matt got thrown out. It wasn't even close. He was out by 15 feet. And it was the third out, at that. Third out, as in end of the inning.

Finito. Kaput. No, I was not allowed to stand on first and admire my handiwork. There was no time to accept high fives from the first base coach. The inning was over. Done. End of story. Now I had to run back to the dugout, get my glove, and make my way to right field.

Every time I've seen Matt since then, here's what I say:

I can barely remember my first marriage. I have no memory of high school geometry. But I remember absolutely EVERYTHING about that summertime at-bat 57 years ago. Everything.

Did I mention it was my only hit of the season, a single up the middle, through the pitcher's legs and over second base before anyone could even blink? That's how hard I hit the ball. I mean, it literally rocketed off my bat. And I sprinted to first. Sprinted. And the crowd went wild. Totally wild. And my good buddy, Matt "I'm-Not-Exactly-Usain Bolt" Weinstein, GET THROWN OUT AT HOME! THROWN OUT! TO END THE INNING! YOU CAN ASK ANYONE!

It wasn't funny then, but it is very funny now.

THIS is precisely how I want to live my life, ladies and gentlemen. One swing of the bat! CONTACT! And I am running, like a man on fire, to first, enjoying the moment for as long as I can, no matter what happens next. Or doesn't.


Excerpted from Storytelling for the Revolution

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at January 18, 2020 01:15 AM

Post a comment

Thanks for signing in, . Now you can comment. (sign out)

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)

Remember me?


Storytelling at Work is a blog about the power of personal storytelling – why it matters and what you can do to more effectively communicate your stories – on or off the job. Inspired by the book of the same name, the blog features "moment of truth" stories by the author, Mitch Ditkoff, plus inspired rants, quotes, and guest submissions by readers.

Order the book:

Storytelling for the Revolution
Storytelling for the Revolution is Mitch Ditkoff's newly published book about the power of personal storytelling to elevate the conversation on planet Earth. Provocative. Evocative. And fun. YOU have stories to tell. This book will help you tell them.
Storytelling at Work
"The world is not made of atoms," wrote the poet, Muriel Rukeyser. "It's made of stories." Learn how to discover, honor, and unpack the stories of yours that show up "on the job" in Mitch Ditkoff's award-winning 2015 book, Storytelling at Work.
Do you want to know more about the book before buying it? Click here for Mitch's response to frequently asked questions about Storytelling at Work – the perfect book for people who think they have no time to read.
The Workshop
Storytelling is an "unconscious competency" – an ability we all have that all too often remains inaccessible to us. Enter the Storytelling at Work workshop – a simple way to activate this powerful, innate skill.
Wisdom Circles
Want to establish a culture of storytelling in your organization or community? Looking for a simple way to help people to share their meaningful, memorable stories with each other? Here's how.
Podcasts & Videos
Click here to view and listen to a series of interviews with the author of this blog. Go beyond the written word. Listen. Feel. Elevate the conversation. Understand what the big deal is about personal storytelling.
Blogs 'R Us
If you like this blog, you might also like Mitch's other two blogs: The Heart of Innovation and The Heart of the Matter. Mitch is also a regular contributor to the Huffington Post.
Idea Champions
When Mitch isn't writing, he's captaining the good ship Idea Champions, a leading edge innovation consulting and training company based in Woodstock, NY. What their clients say.