You can’t hit a home run if you don’t swing

Published 11:56 am Tuesday, August 6, 2013

By CHRIS GEORGE / Guest Columnist

The Sultan of Swat had a philosophy about playing baseball. He said, “Never let the fear of striking out get in your way.” You may know that Babe Ruth held records for the most homeruns — and the most strikeouts. That can be good advice on the diamond and maybe in life.

We shouldn’t be afraid of taking every opportunity we have to make an impact on others. Where we have to be careful is the slow fade into darkness. If you are swinging aimlessly, you’re going to miss. Without a sound moral compass, that miss could be detrimental to not only you, but others.

Realizing the store clerk gave you change for $20 when you only gave them $10 and not saying anything is not technically “theft,” right? Buying a box that allows you all the channels on the TV without the cable company knowing about is just sticking it to the cable company that makes millions anyway, right?

If you have children, I can assure you those little eyes are watching you text and drive. Those little ears are listening to a loud verbal fight between you and your spouse or talking bad about your boss at the dinner table. Criticism is very contagious, but so is kindness.

I may sound like a prude, but there is nothing, absolutely nothing, on prime time television worth watching. I have three boys under 8 in my home and they like the Rifleman, The Brady Bunch, and the old Adam West Batman. They don’t ask to watch to more vulgar shows because they’ve not seen them.

My middle son even told me he couldn’t go see the new Superman movie because it’s rated PG-13. I’ve been challenged on this by others saying that they’ll be exposed to this anyway. I know this is true, but I hope I have established the fundamentals of knowing right and wrong by the time they do.

My oldest will call me out on my speed or if I didn’t come to a complete stop. He will remind me that I shouldn’t text and drive because it is very dangerous. I remember the first time he asked me what a curse word I said meant after I’d hit my finger while hammering a nail.

I only hope he is that conscious of his safety when he begins to drive and that he continues to remind me he is listening. There are eyes on you at all times. Your actions at the ballpark, comments you make and pictures you post on social media can be very dangerous. Once you put it out there, it’s out there.

Swinging hard is great, especially when you connect. The examples I mentioned may seem insignificant, but by staying the course, your misses will not be as painful to you or others as they could be.

Capt. Chris George is a commander with the Criminal Investigations Division of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office. He can be reached at