Jake (Gerry Balchuinas)
Published on Tuesday, January 3, 2012 in Guest Columns, News & Updates
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“I’ll do it,” he said, as he threw on his coat and ran out the door. Ten inches of fresh snow had fallen during the night and Jake was raring to go. He was taking the place of the last 14 year old boy who had this job for a mere two snowfalls before. He was wondering if he would ever be able to get it all done in time, for there are always other commitments and things to do. But he was being counted on so he just had to get it done. Watching all other kids run by with their sleds in hand, he worked diligently, stopping only once in a while to take a break and enjoy the freshly fallen snow. He was amazed at how beautiful a new snow could make everything look so neat and clean. A man walked by and said, “Is that all you got done so far?” Jake just smiled and started at it again, this time he was thinking about what the man had said and tried the best he could to do just a little more, so all would work out great. Then a lady walked by, she said, “if I was you, I would do it this way!” Jake stopped working for a moment and said “hmmmm, maybe I should do it that way.” Just as he started to change, another person stopped by with some advice, “You really ought to do it this way.” Well, Jake was really starting to wonder just how he should go about getting the job done. He had already started the work and in the middle of it all people were stopping and saying how he could do it better or commenting on how much (or little) had gotten done. Again, Jake smiled and waved as his two buddies came running along and said, “Hey Jake, wanna go with us? It will be a great time, we will have so much fun.” “I would love to,” said Jake, “but I really need to get this done.” “Well, OK Jake, suit yourself. And by the way, when you get done here there is a spot right up there that has been a problem for years, can you work on that too?”

So, being taught not to be a quitter, Jake put his nose to the grindstone and started working even harder than before. The same man came by again and shook his head and complained about his work again. Well, by this time Jake had just about had enough. He had been working so hard all this time and all for not one red cent and people were still complaining. He just couldn’t believe that he was out doing work while other people were out playing in the new snow and he was actually receiving complaints. He was just about three-quarters of the way done when a person stopped and asked if he could help. “Sure,” Jake said, and they both worked hard and completed the job. Jake thanked his helper and off the helper went. Jake was standing there looking at a job well done. The person Jake was assisting came out and told him that he had done a great job and how the last boy had stopped working because so many people complained about how he was doing the job. They would even go other places and complain about it. That bothered the last boy, so after only a short time of helping, the other boy just couldn’t take it anymore and stopped. Jake surely understood that, for in his very first attempt he had already seen that happen in person.

Hopefully Jake will always let the good outweigh the bad. What was Jake doing for this person? Does it really matter? You may fill in that space for yourself. The work item is the absolute least important concern of this small tale. What you need to really find out, is what type of person you are. Are you like the person in need, the man, the woman, or the boys playing while Jake worked? Hopefully you are the helper who stopped by. The world, and especially those in our sport, needs more people like Jake and his helper, and less people like the ones who decided to put a damper on his work. So, take a minute to figure out who you are and then remember this little tidbit; without Jake, none of the other parties would even exist.

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