Sunday Inspiration: Schroeder and Favre Have Their Days
Folks, over the last two days, I saw a couple of inspiring things that I wanted to share with you.
On Friday night, the Milwaukee Brewers honored long-time television announcer Bill Schroeder before the game at Miller Park, as Schroeder was enshrined on the Brewers Wall of Honor. Schroeder started his big league career with the club, and has now been a TV announcer for twenty-one years.
“But why is this inspiring?” you ask.
It’s simple. Schroeder thanked everyone he’d ever worked with in the TV booth, mentioned something specific about his former partners (starting with Jim Paschke, and ending with his current partner Brian Anderson), and said that he’d learned from every last one of them.
You see, Schroeder had a fair-to-middling career as a big-league catcher. He caught the Brewers’ only no-hitter (thrown by Juan Nieves), hit .332 in 1987, and finished up his career in 1990 with the then-California Angels.
He played eight years in the majors. And for some, that would be enough of a legacy.
But Schroeder was still a young man. He wanted to do more. And he became a broadcaster, starting his second career in 1994.
Starting over probably wasn’t easy. As Schroeder has said many times during Fox Sports Wisconsin broadcasts, it’s easier to play and stay in the moment than it is to be upstairs and have to critique everything that’s going on.
But Schroeder swallowed his pride, and learned. That was his first step in being a successful broadcaster.
What’s kept him on the air for twenty-one years? Other than the fact that Schroeder knows his stuff cold and always comes prepared (his colleague Anderson more or less pointed this out during Friday night’s broadcast, though I’d understood this long since), it’s the fact that Schroeder continues to learn and grow as a broadcaster.
By this point, Schroeder has become a consummate professional. Yet the players still see him as one of them, because of Schroeder’s eight years in the bigs.
My guess is that when Schroeder started his broadcasting career, he had no idea just where his path would lead him. He stayed within himself and learned — or, to put it perhaps a better way, he stayed humble. And didn’t insist that he knew it all already, so he had no reason to learn.
Schroeder concluded his day at the park by thanking the Brewers fans, an act that felt surprisingly meaningful. Because Schroeder didn’t just say the words; he was moved by them.
Brett Favre’s induction into the Green Bay Packer Hall of Fame last night was in some ways strikingly similar to Schroeder’s day at Miller Park on Friday. Favre thanked many people, including his former quarterback and strength coaches, people who did security for Lambeau Field, folks in the office…and paid particular attention to the memory of Lee Remmel, long-time Packers historian.
Brett Favre is one of the biggest sports stars the state of Wisconsin has ever had, while Schroeder (as a player) was only fair. Yet like Schroeder, somehow the fans always saw Favre as one of them.
And like Schroeder, Favre went out of his way to thank everyone he possibly could for allowing him to become the best he could possibly be. He especially thanked the Packers fans, and said he knew he had a special relationship with them — this is my best paraphrase, as I don’t have a transcript in front of me — and that considering he’d played elsewhere, he knew full well how to value the people of Green Bay. (The crowd roared.)
Both of these men got standing ovations. (Favre’s lasted longer, but then — who can compete with Brett in the state of Wisconsin?) Both of them admitted they’d had to swallow their pride at various times, stay within themselves, and keep trying — that even though it might’ve looked or seemed easy, it wasn’t.
There was a lot of preparation that went into game days for Brett, despite his good-time guy image.
And there has always been a great deal of preparation that goes into game days for Bill Schroeder, despite his down-home image.
Ultimately, these two men have much more in common than it might seem at first. They’re both hardworking, driven men, who’ve succeeded in difficult fields when perhaps very few gave them much thought at first. (Trust me: Favre fully remembers what it was like to be traded from Atlanta and to be so lightly regarded. The rest of us may see him as an icon, but he definitely doesn’t see himself that way.)
Now, what both of these men’s “days” have taught me is this:
- Work hard.
- Stay humble.
- Learn everything you can. Then learn more.
- Be gracious. (AKA, “Remember that you’re not the only human being on the planet.”) and, finally,
- Never stop improving, in one facet or another.
If you can do all of that, you are a success — whether anyone else knows it or not.
Edited to add: My mother came to WordPress and tried to comment, but something glitched and the whole post re-posted again.
Here is her comment in its entirety:
I enjoyed both events as well…Let us not forget the wives of these men as well…They have made many sacrifices for their men’s love of sport..