Today is Message #1026 (my birthday: October 26) and my lucky number. In fact, if you have spent some time with me, you know that I even have a #26 necklace that I always wear (it was my baseball number too), and all around my house I have different items with 26 on it from a street sign to old license plates to mahjong tiles.

Why the number twenty-six, you ask?

When I was younger, my hero was pitcher, Dwight Gooden (Dr. K) of the New York Mets. He was #16 and I had all of his baseball cards, doubles, and in some instances, triples of each. One day I flipped one of his cards over and noticed that his birthday was November 16 and instantly saw why his jersey number was the same. Well, from then on, my number was 26.

In addition to all of his baseball cards, I had Dwight Gooden posters, photos and magazine cutouts. I even tried to duplicate his pitching motion.

Well last night, I spent some time with Dwight Gooden at Yankee Stadium.


It was unbelievable. He even signed a ball to me.

I asked Doc, “What was the secret to your success?”

Without hesitation, my childhood hero replied, “Hard work.”

He didn’t say, “Talent” or “Natural Ability.”

There is a phenomenon called the “Iceberg Effect.” When we see a Dwight Gooden, we only see his out-of-this-world skills (tip of the iceberg). What we don’t see is the hard work and 10,000 hours he put in to getting to that point.

Everyone wants to be an overnight success, but do you know how long it takes to become an overnight success?

Ten years.

Thank you, Mr. Gooden for continuing to be an inspiration to me and a special Happy Birthday to Coach Anthony Carter and high school tennis player, Kevin Roveda.

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