By Jason Reid
Rochester, New York – -(Ammoland.com)- Derek Jeter- a man my generation grew up watching and idolizing. In the years to come, we will talk about Derek Jeter in the same way my grandparents talk about players like Mantle, Ruth, Aaron and Mays.
What on earth does this have to do with hunting?
Honestly, a ton. Look, it is no secret we as a culture of hunters are under more scrutiny than ever. We also don’t always help our own situation by the way we act and portray ourselves at times. It’s almost like hunting has become a popularity contest instead of hunters just getting out to hunt. We beg for attention, compare ourselves jealously against others, bicker amongst each other, put each other down. We seem to be divided as a culture at times. We could be, should be, and can be, a strong impenetrable force leading the country and conservative family values.
After watching his last game in Pinstripes, the entire post game coverage and Sports Center coverage, several realizations hit me square in the face. With his legacy vividly fresh in everyone’s minds, Derek Jeter may be the country’s best example of what respect looks like. Mr. Jeter is human like the rest of us. Not perfect, but he sets a great example not just for aspiring athletes, but for people from all different professions. Here is what we can take away as a culture of hunters.
Talking with the TV anchor after walking off in his final home at bat, Mr. Jeter had every right in the world to soak up the glory, promote himself, but he didn’t. In classic form, Mr. Jeter, when asked what it was like to hear everyone chanting “Thank you Derek” he responded- “For what?”
He even went as far as to congratulate his opponents and wish them luck in the playoffs. Mr. Jeter was deflecting attention. In his entire career, deflecting attention is what he has done. Always re-directing attention to the greater cause – his team and winning a world series.
Do we deflect attention? Not really and I am as guilty of it as anyone. Remember, it is one thing to celebrate success and the success of others. It is another to gloat. We must be careful.
ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian recalls following Mr. Jeter after the Yankee’s 2009 World Series win. Kurkjian says “Mr. Jeter walked past the champagne celebration to hug his parents first.”
Even with all his success, he never forgot the lessons his parents taught him. He never forgot where he came from. Do we remember where we came from as hunters?
Recently across social media I saw hunters attacking and criticizing youth only day hunts. Not only online but also in person I have heard older hunters attack youth only hunts. This breaks my heart. Do people not forget they were once kids and the wonder they felt experiencing the wild? Don’t forget you were once a kid too, and would have loved the chance given during a youth hunt.
Mr. Jeter is most well known for the way he carried himself on and off the field. In an age where a person can release a sex tape and rocket into popularity, true professionalism is rarely appreciated. In his twenty year career, Mr. Jeter was never once ejected from a game.
There are people who can barely get through a day without getting into a heated argument and burning bridges. Do we as hunters stay professional? No, I am not talking about being on TV or being sponsored by companies. I mean, do we carry ourselves in a professional manner, remembering we represent our culture as hunters at all times?
Be honest with yourself. Are we constantly trying to draw attention to ourselves in order to boost our name? To whom is given the glory in the death of the game we pursue? Ourselves or God? If we are constantly trying to arrogantly boost our own name, we will end divided as a culture and alone as individuals. Our culture needs us to carry ourselves as professionals and stay above the insanity. We are each a public relations agent for our culture, ambassadors of the sport. In this age hostile bipartisanship, we cannot stoop to low levels and portray ourselves as savages. Even the best pf us try and prove dominance over other hunters. Carry yourself professionally, but be careful of begging for the attention, it will take you away from the mission and the purpose of being a hunter.
Mr. Jeter acknowledged something in his final home game press conference.
He said, “There are people on the field who are better than me, but nobody plays harder.”
Going back to professionalism, keep this in mind. Yes, there are people out there who might have more hunting talent, more land and more opportunities. But never let others hunt harder than you. This is something you know about yourself, keep this close to your heart and let it push you forward. I’ll admit, when I first started blogging, I drove myself crazy if I didn’t get enough views or followers. I began mentally linking the number of likes or followers I had or how many slaps on the back I received each day to how good of a hunter I was. It began to become a fixation instead of just working hard and hunting hard. Do I want to become a successful writer? By all means yes. But my attitude had to change first. While I finally realized the error of my ways, after listing to Mr. Jeter speak, I understood what Nike’s phrase, “Just Do It,” really meant to me as a hunter.
Whether or not you even like the game of baseball, Mr. Jeter’s respect for the game translates to us as hunters. Do we respect the game we chase? Do we respect the culture we represent? Take a hard look at how you carry yourself and be honest. We don’t just represent ourselves as hunters, but we represent our culture at all times. Mr Jeter represented himself, his family, and his organization. But he also represented baseball, perhaps in a way we may never see again. As hunters, we can learn by reflecting on his career.
Mr Jeter, if you ever see this, thanks for being a true professional.
About Jason Reid:
Jason Reid is a writer and business professional from upstate New York. After deciding to pursue his dream of becoming an outdoor writer, Jason started a blog from his dorm room at Houghton College, growing it and working hard to earn opportunities. While bowhunting big game is his ultimate passion, Jason welcomes all outdoor challenges which force him to push his limits. Jason’s work can be viewed on his website Pushingthewildlimits.com