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Roy Halladay’s Example Will Make You Desire To Be Great

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I don’t know why this affected me so much.  But it did.  More so than any celebrity death I can think of.  I cried like I lost a member of my family – and I never even met him personally.

The passing of somebody like Roy Halladay affects a lot of us.  Not just for his greatness as an athlete and all-star pitcher.

But as a person.

As a father, I wept for his two sons.  As a husband, for his loving wife.  Never in your wildest dreams do you imagine being taken from this earth so soon and so quickly.  Unfortunately, for Roy, that day came likely when he least expected it.  He was doing something he truly loved: flying.

Halladay for me represented greatness, but not just in baseball.  I admired the guy’s work ethic.  I’m not always the hardest working person out there.  So, seeing somebody – or at least hearing incredible stories about a person – being talented but also hardworking is so rare.

[clickToTweet tweet="'I never gave anything less than my best effort.' - Roy Halladay" quote="'... I never gave anything less than my best effort.' - Roy Halladay"]

It’s nothing short of inspiring.  I mean when somebody beats a guy like Chase Utley, who is talented and hardworking in his own right, to the ballpark each day – that person is truly special.

And Roy was that.

As so often happens, we who aren’t personally connected with someone don’t really know the true affect they have on others until they’re gone.  With a person’s death comes stories and memories that are helpful in comforting us, but may also be something people say to be nice.

I didn’t get that sense with Roy.  Nobody really had a bad thing to say about the guy.  He seemed to be a genuine person and one who was truly devoted to his family.

[clickToTweet tweet="'The purity of the effort matters most.' - @TylerKepner on #RoyHalladay" quote="' ... his legacy, to me, is powerful and instructive in any field: The purity of the effort matters most.' - Tyler Kepner, NY Times writer, on Roy Halladay"]

I usually listen to business podcasts on my drive to and from work.  I try to pick up nuggets of information that can help me with Run The Money.  I try to learn something every day.

But, once I saw the information about Roy’s death, I switched over to Sports Radio WIP on my TuneIn app.  I knew the radio hosts would be taking calls from fans about their memories of Roy.  I did the same thing at home, during the following day on my drive to and from work, and during my lunch break.

"Courage is not being fearless but rather acting in spite of the existence of fear!" - Quote on Roy Halladay's Twitter profile

I cried, but mostly I just listened and smiled.  I loved hearing the stories about what Roy meant to people.  His teammates and coaches.  The Phillies organization.  All of the Phillies fans all over the Delaware Valley and beyond.

Roy was a competitor.

Roy had the best work ethic.

I was at Roy’s no-hitter in the playoffs.

My father and I watched the no-hitter together.  It was the last playoff game I got to watch with my father.

Roy stayed for the entire baseball tournament where he was helping the younger players.

Roy spoke with my young son on the phone after his playoff no-hitter.

Roy was enjoying retirement.

Roy was fierce on the mound.

The effect Roy had on his former teammates was also very telling.

Utley, who was teammates with Roy on the Phillies from 2010 – 2013, posted the following Instagram message:

My heart hurts writing this. I can still remember the first day we met. It was 5:45am on the first day of spring training when I arrived. He was finishing his breakfast but his clothes were soaking wet. I asked if it was raining when he got in. He laughed and said “No I just finished my workout” I knew right then- he was the real deal. Thank you Roy for allowing us to witness what it takes to be the best. We will all miss you.

Cole Hamels called Roy his mentor and had a wonderful tribute to him during a press conference:

Hamels also tweeted the following:

There was also a beautiful piece from Tyler Kepner of the New York Times that really captured who Roy was and left a real impression on me.  Kepner writes:

I learned a lot from Halladay in our interview this spring — how he mastered each of his pitches, how he held them, how he used them to very likely earn a plaque in the Hall. But mostly I learned again that what truly drove him was not the achievement, but earning the opportunity to have it. If he could do that perfectly, he could live with the rest.

Halladay did not live long enough. But his legacy, to me, is powerful and instructive in any field: The purity of the effort matters most.

I have to say that I learned more about how to be a competitor at life, how to master your craft, how to have great relationships, how to let your work speak for itself, and how to love in the last few days listening about Roy Halladay’s effect on people – than I did on countless business podcasts.

He set a great example for all of us at any age.  Showing up isn’t good enough.  Being talented means nothing.

What does matter is prioritizing and being diligent about the work.  Continuing to try to get better each day.  Tuning out the noise and being the first one to get there and the last one to leave.

The only thing more important than that is how you treat people.  Your family.  Your friends.  Your customers (read: fans).  Your employer.  Your vendors.  Anybody who comes in contact with you – are they better off having met you and interacted with you that day?

That’s the legacy that matters here.  My prayer is that his sons – and all of us really – use Roy’s life as an example of how to be better each day.

That’s how we all can become great.

  • Aaron says:

    Great tribute to this man – who I really didn’t know much about until your post (heard the name before). Really like that last tweet of his you posted. All in our perspective.

    • Thanks, Aaron. That means a lot. Exactly. I wanted it to speak to the man he was, but also show how he’s an example for all of us. We need those kind of role models these days for whatever we do in life. No matter if it’s financially, physically, for our families, our careers, our health, whatever it is. We just need that. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  • Great post, Dave! I was shocked and saddened to learn of his passing. I didn’t know too much about him, but he was clearly someone who lived life to the fullest and made a significant impact on many lives. My heart breaks for his wife and kids. Great tribute to him!

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