Doing the right thing – 12 million dollars’ worth!

Gil Meche – Kansas City Royals

I read the local paper every morning. Not on-line but the real paper that you can fold and stick in a briefcase and gets black ink on your fingertips.

I tend to skip the sports section mainly because I’m not a professional sports fan and it seems to be jammed full of stories about who got arrested, suspended, fined or who is holding out for that extra gazillion dollars in their contract.

But today I was drawn to a story about Gil Meche who is a 32-year-old right-handed pitcher for the Kansas City Royals. His contract called for him to be paid a $12 million salary in 2011. He is not going to take it because he is going to retire. He has an injury to his right shoulder which prevents him from being a starting pitcher which is what his contract paid him to do.  He could report to spring training, do some relief pitching, work on rehabilitating his shoulder or just do nothing and pick up a check.

Gil decided he is just going to retire; Why? Here is what he said:

“When I signed my contract, my main goal was to earn it. Once I started to realize I wasn’t earning my money, I felt bad. I was making a crazy amount of money for not even pitching. Honestly, I didn’t feel like I deserved it.”

He went on to say:

“This isn’t about being a hero; it’s just me getting back to a point in my life where I’m comfortable. Making that amount of money from a team that has already given me over $40 million for my life and for my kids, it just wasn’t the right thing to do.”

Gil Meche is a leader. I think Gil Meche is a leader because:

  1. He has an ingrained sense of integrity; he can’t accept payment for something he promised to do but can’t do anymore.
  2. He is a team player; he cannot fulfill his role with the team so he understands he needs to make room for someone who can.
  3. He understands priorities; he said his children need him more than his teammates.
  4. He understands who he is and his limits; he realized he couldn’t perform to his own standards.
  5. He knows he has done his best and knows it’s time to walk away.

It takes a tremendous individual to walk away from $12 million dollars. I’m glad there are still people like Gil Meche in the world. Maybe I could become a professional sports fan if the players were all like Gil.

Have a great Masonic Day!