For the non-baseball fan, Yogi Berra passed away in 2015, an 18 time all-star who apeared in 14 World Series as a member of the New York Yankees and won 10 of them. As one of baseball’s greatest ever, perhaps Yogi’s even greater contribution was what he contributed to the English language. Yogi had countless expressions and most of them were memorable not only for their sheer idiocy, because most made no sense — but each had an element of truth. Some of my favorites certainly can be seen as lessons and important ones.
1. “You can observe a lot just by watching.” Lots to be said for listening and listening well, a skill many never develop. Also allows us to gather our thoughts for saying just the right thing and at just the right time. Prevents us from “open mouth, insert foot”
2. “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” Indecision is the enemy of progress. Many institutions, and academia is assuredly one, just can’t seem to gather enough information ever to make an informed decision. Often taking a direction in life, even if it needs to be changed along the way, is preferable to the tyranny of indecision.
3. “The future ain’t what it used to be.” Actually sounds like something my dad would have said and we all seem to be convinced that the future will be a keen disappointment. We revel in memories of the past, which frankly are inevitably colored by the passage of time. The past is never as glorious as it seems, the future never as daunting.
4. “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” Clearly Yogi is arguing for a vision, and he’s right. Is the TIF and CIP a vision for the future or simply a series of cobbled together projects each of which carries an agenda with a short-term goal? Does the Lawton Economic Development Corporation (LEDC) have a vision? Is it the same vision as the Chamber and the City? Do we know where we are going? Or will we end up someplace else?
5. “I never said most of the things I said.” Rumors are rampant, even rumors of rumors. Couple this with another Yogi quote “half the lies they tell about me aren’t true” and you begin to get the picture. Social media is the birthplace of rumor. Ignore it and drive on.
And “always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they won’t come to yours.” I never really thought a lot about that before. ...
Lee Baxter is a former commanding general of Fort Sill.