It’s All Up to What You Value

Yesterday, Karen and I were out on the boat when I got a call from a friend of mine inviting me to the Red Sox-Mariners game next Wednesday. Of course, I said yes.

“Look at your life,” Karen said with amusement. “You’re on a boat, getting calls to go to Fenway, working on a book proposal. It’s pretty good.”

All that is true. The move to Cooperstown has certainly been personally rewarding. Not having to take the train to Chicago five days a week, not dealing with the vagaries of trading, well, not working at a regular job, has been great.

Sometimes I miss the action, the money (erratic though it may have been), but what I gained has been so much more. I reclaimed my life and, in capturing years that would have been flushed down the job-toilet, I’ve been able to devote myself to Nate’s improvement.

There is no way, had we stayed in Chicago, that I would’ve been able to work as hard and as thoroughly with Nate. And how would his life have turned out differently? Would he have graduated from Stevenson, a high pressure High School? College? Unlikely.

Tossing one life aside and building another was a ballsy move for our family. I didn’t see it at the time; I see it now. We’re all the better for it, none more so than Nate who has achieved so much.

Sure, it’s easy to say “money isn’t everything” when you’re not struggling. I know how lucky I am. But even so, there’s a difference between being able to do something and actually doing it. Helping Nate get the most out of himself as he struggled through hyperlexia and autism is more meaningful than anything I’ve ever done. During my campaign for Mayor of Cooperstown, a close friend told me that what he admired the most about me wasn’t even on anyone’s radar as I ran for office.

“The fact that you put yourself through high school again for Nate is what I respect in you more than anything else, ” he said.

I changed my life and in doing so changed Nate’s. With his success and growth, he has more than returned the favor.

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About Jeff Katz

Jeff Katz is Mayor of Cooperstown, the “Birthplace of Baseball” and home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. His latest book, Split Season:1981 - Fernandomania, the Bronx Zoo, and the Strike that Saved Baseball, (Thomas Dunne Books, 2015), received national attention, with coverage appearing in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Sporting News and NPR’s Only a Game, among others. Katz appeared on ESPN’s Olbermann and The Sporting Life with Jeremy Schaap and MLB Network’s MLB Now, with Brian Kenny. Split Season: 1981 was a finalist for the 2016 Casey Award for Best Baseball Book of the Year.
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