Thousand Foot Krutch

Thousand Foot Krutch
I love this band. I listen to them daily. Even though we are looking at another camera, we all look like we're alert for it being a fan signing and it's 11:30 p.m. on a Friday.

08 November 2012

Tony LaRussa

So I got to meet good old Tony LaRussa, the former manager for the St. Louis Cardinals, at a press conference, the very first official press conference I ever got to attend. Hands-on, I finally know how to cover a  press conference! Haha. Joanna Shaver, who coordinates all the speakers, brought him out of the back room. I wish I could have gotten a picture with him! I have one of Michael J. Fox but not him. I know he talked about his pet rescue operation and gave an awesome quote on leadership skills and developing them, which I'll update this post with the exact quotes. He seemed very nervous and freaked out by the press conference, but at least he showed up, unlike Mr. Bill Nye the Science Guy. I wasn't at that one, though, but no way would I miss this one. He was like super late but we supposedly got all 15 minutes with him, even though I'm suspicious as to whether we really did or not. He had beautiful rings, three of them. They were so shiny and sparkly.

Of course, Dobbins had a beautiful speech welcoming La Russa to the stage and how glad Southeast was La Russa was here, and how 100 percent of the profits of the selling of tickets go to the endowed scholarship foundation to fund students' scholarship. La Russa even called the president by his first name, Ken, and called him out, asking him where to send people with questions. Dobbins looked flabbergasted, but recovered quickly

I also attended his actual event, with his speech. The man is super long-winded with his stories! Nonetheless, I was interested. He has to be my favorite speaker. For being old, he is a rather goodlooking man. I bet he was a lady killer in his glory years. 

Now I'm sure that he always says this, but he swore that the Cardinals were his favorites to manage. He also confirmed he and Chris Carpenter were close, and truthfully, I'd say they were probably the closest. I'm sure it's a friendship and a father-son relationship, as Carpenter is 37 and LaRussa is 68. When he first started to talk about Chris and how close they were, his eyes sort of shot to the right like he was sorry he'd just admitted it. Why would he be sorry, though? Oh well. He, for a moment, had a thoughtful expression on his face. Some people would try to make it seem creepy, but it really isn't. Everyone sort of finds someone to mentor or be mentored from. Best friends can be years apart. It's not the years that matter, it's how much time you spend together and what you both get from the relationship.

I'll update this later. He didn't say much, but what he said was powerful. Trust, respect and character were the core of his speech, and expounding on managing a team. I think the man had some insecurities. Everyone does, even the most put together people. He was pretty cocky and arrogant, as if he knew he was the coolest kid on the block (he really is). Really, the man shouldn't be so nervous. He's a very wonderful speaker, actually. I'll post a picture of him, too - when I get it updated. He was so inspirational. Here's one of them, talking about dealing with pressure, which he really emphasized in his speech. I took lots of notes.

"I looked at each player as if he were the pressure, go-to guy in any situation."

I really wish I had been on La Russa's team. I really do.

"Make pressure your friend," La Russa said. 

Pressure is a tough subject to tackle. Some people are calm and cool under pressure, some people get excited and make mistakes, he pointed out. Personally, I want to be in the latter category.

"We made pressure our friend on my teams. We prepared for situations over and over, which reduces the pressure the players perform under. I also taught players to think of the process, not the result. When David Freese went to the plate in Game 6, I can tell you he was only looking to have a good at-bat, not hitting a home run. He was able to totally tune out the pressure."

He said that everyone could be the top of their field, if they had respect, character, and trust. What will I remember from La Russa's speech? Prepare ahead of time. Keep practicing, eventually you'll get it right. Make pressure your friend. Just like from Ryan Blair the most life changing truth for me: Don't let anyone steal your milk.

He had a very long Question and Answer forum. What did he tell everyone about asking questions? 

"No guts, no glory."

I love that man.

People asked strange questions and almost everyone prefaced it with, "I love you, the Cardinals, or I'm from St. Louis." Of course you're from St. Louis - you're at Southeast and attending an event with Tony LaRussa, who insisted we call him Tony, and 40 percent of the students are St. Louis transplants.

I got guts and glory. I love it. I love his voice too. It's a perfect voice, sharp and focused, gravelly and cool. When he talked, you knew he wasn't talking out of his butt. He had something to say. He was serious. He wasn't blowing out hot air to make himself look better. He looked good already. He was good. And he was a person to look up to, to admire. He made jokes, some rather funny ones, considering he said he didn't think he was a very funny guy. OK, he shouldn't become a standup comedian by any means, but he wasn't too bad. He kept it humorous yet serious. I could tell he was used to managing rowdy guys and inspiring people. "Every year I get older and the players get younger." It was a joke I heard from my American Literature professor before he retired. He made it work, though, and I laughed. It's really funny.

He really cared about students, too, and tried to encourage us with his words, telling us he hoped we'd get something out of it to carry with us. At least he knew his audience, considering our student fees brought him here. They always have to talk about being leaders at the Speakers' Series thing. I think I agree with my uncle when he says a lot of successful people feel inadequate on college campuses and around college-educated people because they haven't gone to the university. It's hard to believe, but with my degrees, I'll technically be more educated than people three times my age. They have way more experience than me, though, but they are older and have been around a lot longer than me. La Russa is 46 years older than me. I can't believe it!

I wanted to ask him, after his I'm-old comment, how old he thought I was - I love asking people that question because everyone thinks I'm like 16. He probably would have said the same thing. I also should have asked if baseball is rigged. Shoot. I just know it is. He dodged questions he didn't want to answer, though, and he'd have dodged that one no doubt.

The great question: If I'm a blogger, does that count as being a journalist? Some people think it does, others don't. What do you think? Does blogging count?

Praying you have faith, hope, and love always,


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