Lessons from the Ballpark: Jeter’s Approach to Life

The New York Yankees retired Derrick Jeter’s number, # 2, in 2017. He retired as the Yankees leader in hits, games played, doubles, and stolen bases. As the Yankee’s captain, he led his team to five World Series wins. # 2 will forever live in the pinstripes allure as the 21st plaque to be erected in Monument Park at Yankee Stadium.    

About ten years ago Jeter participated in a national drug free commercial. While showing childhood photographs of Jeter playing baseball, he shared how his parents were involved in his baseball development as a child. He said they taught, “If I practiced and didn’t give up … my swing would get better. If I got in front of the ball and wasn’t afraid … I’d stop it. That there weren’t any short cuts to becoming a better player, but if I’d believe in myself I could do it. Funny, all that time I thought they were teaching me about baseball.” The lessons Jeter’s parents taught him about baseball are relevant to life outside the baseball diamond.

One of the lessons I am always sharing with others is that we are either processing our experiences through educational or shame lenses. The education lens examines experiences as an opportunity to learn what we did well or what we can improve.  The shame lens, however, focuses on what is bad. When I listen to Jeter’s comments, I suspect his parents were teaching him to use the educational lens. By not giving up, facing fears, and working hard we can learn to be the person we were created to be in life.  


Dr. Geoff Weckel PsyD