This past November, baseball lost a legend. We didn't hear much about in the midst of the World Series, but as fans were cheering in hopes for a ring, former players and coaches were mourning the loss of an indescribable icon. George "Sparky" Anderson was one of the greatest baseball coaches to lace his cleats and spit sunflower seeds. He began his coaching career in the 1960's as a hot tempered Minor League coach, but Anderson became one of the most successful major league skippers in baseball history. He led the Cincinnati Reds and Detroit Tigers with dignity. In appreciation for Anderson's leadership, Cincinnati retired his number in 2005, and Detroit will do the same on the 26th of this month.
But on the other hand, behind the walls of Anderson's life lived two different men. "George" loved his family. "Sparky" adored baseball. Unfortunately, for over four decades, "Sparky" lived ten months of the year. As time progresed, "George" barely recognized his children, and they barely recognized him.
But once "Sparky" took off the uniform for the last time, he morphed back into "George." With every ounce of his being, George determined to reunite with his children and captivate on every opportunity to know his grandchildren. And as he was lying on his death bed, even through the thick fog of dementia, Anderson knew which "hat" he would wear; not "skipper", but "father." With family by his side, he would go as George Anderson.
From what I know, Anderson's spiritual life wasn't where it needed to be, but he did inadvertently give lasting, spiritual advice. Which "hat" will you wear the day you die? Choose wisely, because that choice begins today. When death comes knocking at your door, it's too late to change "hats!"