When Your Not Top Dog: You Have 2 Choices – Lessons from My Dad

There is a story that is part of my family’s history and a staple of my childhood. This is one of those stories that stuck with me…. has gone down in Heppes History and I have tucked in the way in my list of lessons to give Shannon. This story isn’t mine to tell necessarily, but I am glad I was given it to share…. and since my Dad is my most consistent blog reader, I am sure he will let me know if I t can’t live on these pages….. but I think it will be ok!

Dad’s Students November 2012

My dad grew up playing baseball and being the athlete, hard worker, and competitive guy he is, he was the starting short stop. Until one day the younger player was placed on the starting line up. It was in that moment, as my Dad says, I had a choice: be mad or be an excellent team member. He choose team member and made sure he helped the guy get his glove ready, warm up with him, and then cheer him on. There was no complaining…. there was no taking offense… there was no attention to fairness, age, why one person deserves it and one did not…. there was just the choice to be supportive and stay in the game.

Dad, Grant and I worked in the same Industry for several years June 2018

As kids we have heard this story related to not getting a role we wanted or feeling slighted. This lesson was retold when it came to being a good friend or part of a team. And often this lesson was revisited around conversations about maturity. This is piece of my dad’s history that has become a fixture in my and my siblings’ history too. But lately it has been a big part of my present too.

Dad with me on one of my biggest lesson days- Transplant 1 November 2016

How many of us don’t feel like the top dog? Maybe it’s at home… maybe as a spouse or parent… maybe as a friend… maybe as a coworker… Maybe as a human?!?! 2020 appears to be bleeding into 2021 and I don’t know about you… but I don’t feel like the top anything. And it is coming out in frustration , jealousy, tears, justification and confusion for why isn’t any of this working? And then this story pops into my mind? And why? As far as I know I have not been replaced as mom or wife or employee… there isn’t a younger/better version competing for my roles. Also, there is not a glove to oil or a version of catch to warm up for the game. But there is one thing that could apply….

Lauren Gramham & My Dad are both in Associations & I got to go with Dad to this event November 2016

Don’t worry about the reasons things don’t look like you expect. Don’t say “supposed to” or “should”… bemoaning gets you no where. We are where we are – on the baseball diamond and in the midst of 2021, those are the facts. And if your not going to ask a lot of questions and mourn what you expected to be, then you can also take the next step in embracing it. For dad that was being a good teammate, staying focused on the game- being the best back up he could…. until he may be needed elsewhere, he gave 150% right there. There, there is the lesson. Right where we are and giving 150%, without letting the questioning or frustration distract me. And if you are getting distracted, take action. Practice or cheer on your teammate…. whatever it takes to “keep your head in the game”. And maybe you can become top dog, right where you are – in any role.

Dad and I at the office together March 2019

Thanks Dad for the story…. the lesson… you sharing… in case you were wondering, we kids were listening…

Thank you so much for reading and remember to make it a great day!

2 thoughts on “When Your Not Top Dog: You Have 2 Choices – Lessons from My Dad

  1. Thanks Jac- happy you shared. The lesson continued when I eventually got my starting role back and the kid I replaced was not happy and did not support me in the same manner. I think I learned more from watching his childish reaction than from my approach. AND at least you listened Jac!
    Love Dad


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