Jackie Robinson Day

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Today, April 15, all Majojrobinsonr League Baseball teams will honor Jackie Robinson with all players wearing his number 42.  To understand how significant Jackie Robinson’s life was, rent the movie “42” tonight.  I highly recommend it!

A few fun things you may not know about Jackie Robinson (courtesy of the people at bathoncho.com).

Fun Facts About Jackie Robinson 

1.  On January 31, 1919 Jack Roosevelt “Jackie” Robinson was born on a plantation in Cairo, Georgia.

2.  Robinson attended John Muir High School where he was placed on the Pomona Annual Baseball tournament all-star team. He played alongside future hall of famers Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox and Bob Lemon of the Cleveland Indians.

3.  Jackie’s older brother, Matthew “Mack” Robinson, was a silver medalist at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. He finished 2nd to Jesse Owens in the 200 meter dash.

4.  A natural athlete, Jackie Robinson attended UCLA where he participated in not only baseball, but also basketball, football and track.

5.  Robinson didn’t play baseball between the ages of 21 and 26. During these years he not only played pro football, but he also served in the US Army as part of World War II.

6.  Robinson made a salary of $5,000 his first year with the Dodgers.

7.  Jackie played in six different World Series but was only victorious in one of them.

8.  At the age of 37 Robinson retired from Major League Baseball as a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers. He then took a position with an American coffee company by the name of “Chock Full O Nuts” where he eventually became the Vice President of personnel.

9.  In 1964 Robinson co-founded the Freedom National Bank. A black owned and operated bank in Harlem, New York.

10. Robinson was also the first African American TV sports analyst. He broadcasted for ABC’s Major League Baseball game of the week telecasts in 1965.

11. On March 1, 1981, American astronomer Schelte John “Bobby” Bus discovered an asteroid at the Siding Spring Observatory in New South Wales, Australia. Bus named the asteroid “4319 Jackie Robinson,” after his favorite baseball player.

12. In 1999 Robinson was added to the Major League Baseball all-century team along with Cal-Ripken Jr., Joe DiMaggio, Willie Mays, and Ty Cobb. Fans chose the final selections from list compiled of the 100 greatest Major League Baseball players from the past century.


What The Election Means to This Small Business Owner

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Trying to reason the outcomes from yesterday does no good.  Clearly, we are a very divided country.  I am on the wrong side of the divide and now have to rethink a number of aspects of my life.  I started my working life in the same year Ronald Reagan was elected and lived those first years experiencing first hand the idealism that a “rising tide lifts all ships.”  For the following 30 years I embraced that philosophy and actually worked very hard to be a part of the rising tide.   This morning I now believe that the majority no longer believe in this philosophy.  I want to be patriotic and say great things about the future, but I am first going to have to reconcile that the future will be much different than the one I imagined.

As a business owner, the difficulties of the last four years cannot be exaggerated.  The huge tax bills are not imagined.  Interestingly, Jennifer and I work our tails off 24/7 just to be told that we need to pay our “fair share” while struggling to make a payroll, and pay for a home, college, and groceries.  Strangely, there is not much left over for us.  We are the middle class…with a business and the opportunity to create employment and hopefully, maybe, a better life for our family and employees.  The risks we have taken to get here are substantial with many costing us in ways that include hundreds of thousands of dollars and our enthusiasm for being an employer.  Now, the majority have spoken.  It feels like the majority has kicked people like us to the curb.  I keep hearing “you didn’t build that” in my head and wonder how we are at this point this morning?  For almost 20 years I have employed at least one person.  The taxes we pay, and how little we have at the end of the day, would surprise most readers.  It is not a small burden for the small businessman.

I fear the majority opinion of last night is now a part of the fabric of America.  The majority is of the opinion that people like us, the small business owners of America, need to be bled dry.  Somehow we are not paying our fair share.  Of course, providing jobs is a major problem in this economy.  I believe the job creators in America did speak last night.  We are just not respected or of the majority.  Nor will we likely ever be.

There is not a lot of blood left in this turnip.  Please don’t say wait until 2016.  What happened across America last night was a statement that won’t make a difference in 2016.  People like me are now faced with using this information and adjusting our lives to best take care of our families.

I hoped 2008 was an aberration.  It was not. It is the majority.  My years of hard work and efforts to provide employment and a better life to lots of people now seems destined to be seriously challenged if not near ending.  I believe our President is a good man.  It is not personal.  These are words from the trenches.  I hope I see something that allows me to post that I was wrong.

Hope won’t pay our bills.  And there is no change on the horizon.

Thank You!

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I enjoy coaching youth basketball and baseball.  Our basketball season ended suddenly (only the champs win their last game) last week.  I couldn’t shift gears fast enough at the end of the game to say what was most important.  I tried to encourage the kids, and that was important also.  But, this group of kids had worked and played particularly hard and they deserved to be told “thanks”.

I ended up sending an email later to the parents and the kids wrapping up the season and sharing the two words that kept going through my mind.  “Thank You!”  It may seem a little odd that I wanted to say thanks to all of them so badly (since I was the unpaid volunteer!) but lets face it.  We were all giving to each other in the relationships and the gift I was given was a lot of hard effort and commitment from players and parents.  What more could you ask for?  “Thank you” seems very appropriate.

How often though do we forget to really recognize those people who give so much to us?  In the moment at the end of the game it did not register with me.  It was only with a day of reflection that I realized how important it was to share my gratitude.   In business and life, it seems the chase is where the energy is spent.  When the end is accomplished, whether it is the end of a sports season, or the client who agrees to a contract, thank you is a very important part of our language.

Even more importantly, when we are successful do we recognize all the people that helped make for the success?  Not only do we need to thank the players and client, but also the parents and staff that made the experience a positive one for all involved.

In many service businesses there is a certain expectation as to the quality of service received, and people often do not feel it necessary to add a thank you for a good deed.   I know it should not work this way, but if you are one of these people, notice that the customers who show appreciation seem to get a little bit higher level of service.  This is easy to explain.  We all like to be around people who are kind and gracious…and level headed!

Do I think we should all walk around saying “thank you” just to make the world a nicer place?  Absolutely not.  “Thank you” is an expression of gratitude that needs to be sincere.  A “thank you” for the sake of thank you is not sincere, and should be meaningless.  I personally want to be able to recognize when thanks are due and immediately let the person know of my gratitude.

Even if it is just minutes after the final buzzer.

Life Saving Tip You Should Know

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On a more serious side, if you have not seen this you should. It makes a lot of sense as a CPR method that is simpler to jump in and help if you are ever placed in a situation where needed.

More Protection!

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As the ongoing search light continues to focus brightly on all parties associated with residential real estate for blame of the five year economic malise, it only makes sense that thoughtful entreprenuers will come up with new ways to protect the parties involved in residential sales transactions.  This week we received news that a new insurance product is being offered to protect lenders and investors from losses when “a valuation inaccuracy is discovered.”  So, now we have appraisal protection and title insurance.  Having valuation insurance sure sounds like a good idea to help add a few more costs to each transaction.   Just think, if such insurance is available, why do we really need full appraisals?  What would happen if the market just did its job and residential real estate values were determined in a real market based system…closer to an auction than an arbitrary list price?

Since we are now on the path of providing purchasers with all kinds of protection, most likely at the seller’s expense, I have a few new ideas that I would propose should become part of all transactions.

Mortgage Qalification Insurance- if you learn that a lender allowed you to borrow more than you can handle, and now you are cash strapped and having difficulty making payments, put in a claim against your lender.  They are the 1%..right?  Let them pay your mortgage since they loaned you too much!

Home Inspection Insurance- That home inspection did not catch the gfi circuit breaker that is not tripping and you are concerned is a hazard?  No problem, file a claim on the Inspection policy and get the funds to make those repairs!

Poor Decision Insurance- this is a nice way to say that your Realtor led you to a home that you fell in love with, and now feel is a mistake.  Call it buyers remorse, just don’t lose any sleep over it!  You are with the good hands who are just going to pay you for the home since you have a Poor Decision policy.  What a great way to buy a home, knowing you are protected if the home is a lemon, or just not enough room at the holidays!

There are so many parts of life I would like to insure.  How about the risk that your kids make bad decisions that cost you several thousands of dollars?  Call it Parental Protection Insurance.  Or how about your spouse who no longer excites you.  Middle Age Crisis insurance can help fund your new sportscar and more!

Maybe I need to change careers.  I could really create some great coverages.  Too bad I did not take out a Wild Card Policy for all of my ideas…