‘Wizard of Oz’ Delivers Message of Improvement, Example to Contractors

By on November 9, 2018

Wednesday night (Nov. 7) Baseball Cardinal legend Ozzie Smith told a roomful of painting and wall and ceiling contractors and their guests that there no secret to his success —  beyond constantly striving to be better.

Smith delivered a gentle, funny, and stirring presentation to attendees at the 40th annual Painting and Decorating Foundation fellowship banquet and awards ceremony. The event was held at the Moto Museum.

Award presentations at the event included the “Finishing Touch” awards (click to view a PDF of the winners), which recognize excellence in painting and drywall projects and apprentice of the year honors. Painters’ Apprentice of the Year is Trent Tiller, from TJ Wies Contracting.Carpenters’ Apprentice of the Year is Robert Payne Jr., from Builders’ Bloc.

The Baseball Hall of Famer told how he played until he was 41 — playing for almost nine seasons with a torn rotator cuff — by fastidious adherence to a routine of exercise and diet. He talked about the players and coaches he admired and the difference it made to play on a team where the players showed up every day feeling like they were going to win.

He told the audience that he attended college on academic scholarship and decided to try out as a walk on for the college team, thus creating the opportunity for him to be drafted for the pros.

Stressing the importance of serving as an example for future generations, Smith concluded with an anonymous poem, “To Any Athlete”  that he used as part of his Baseball Hall of Fame Induction speech,

To Any Athlete

There are little eyes upon you,
   And they’re watching night and day;
There are little ears that quickly
  Take in every word you say;
There are little hands all eager
   To do anything you do;
And a little boy who’s dreaming
   Of the day he’ll be like you.

You’re the little fellow’s idol,
   You’re the wisest of the wise,
In his little mind about you,
   No suspicious ever rise;
He believes in you devoutly,
   Holds that all you say and do,
He will say and do, in your way
   When he’s a grown up like you.

There’s a wide eyed little fellow,
   Who believes you’re always right,
And his ears are always open,
   And he watches day and night; 
You are setting an example
   Every day in all you do,
For the little boy who’s waiting
   To grow up and be like you.

About Tom Finan