By Jeff Davidson,
I got a trial with a Little League team at age 10, but I was cut by the coach just before the season started in favor of his 9-year-old son. The son wasn’t nearly as good at baseball as I was, but I understood the situation and accepted it without much fanfare. I figured at age 11, I’d have no problem making the Little League, and I’d be on some team for two years.
At age 11, I wasn’t even considered for a team and went straight to what was called the farm team. This irked me. I had many friends in the Little League, and they wanted to know why I hadn’t been selected.
At age 12, the last year in which one can be in the Little League, I was selected by the Maple Hill Dairy team. This team had superstars who had won the crown the year before. They had lost a couple of players due to age but were still the best team on paper.
A Championship Season
During the 12-game season, I made six hits in 14 official at-bats, plus two walks and two sacrifice flies, for 18 total plate appearances. My batting average was .429.
I didn’t know that this average put me in the upper echelon of team batting for that season. When did I learn of my feat? During the season-ending awards ceremony, our coach was handing out trophies at the League banquet. He gave the first eight trophies, one by one, to players on the team.
Then he announced that the remaining six were the pillars of our championship season. I was among them. I had no idea! Apparently, neither did the coach until he had compiled the season’s statistics. In announcing my name, he said he wished he had understood earlier how well I had been hitting: he would have played me more. His words were the highest praise I could have received following the season.
If you attend a Little League awards banquet these days, the champions are given awards along with all others. Everybody receives an award for participation, much like what occurs in the larger society. Merit counts for little because the mentality today is simply participating is sufficient for awards.
However, to hand out participation trophies is a sham; the same sham that’s taking place in many aspects of our culture. The Leftists among us are seeking to quash merit-based testing everywhere. Out with Scholastic Aptitude Tests (SATs), they’re racist. They’re sexist. They’re transphobic. Out with the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). Out with writing an essay to get into college. Out with letter grades. So it goes into too many aspects of society.
I guarantee that you don’t want to be operated on by a brain surgeon who went to a medical school where grades were not important. You don’t want to fly in a plane with pilots who have not proven both in testing and in flight simulation that they are fully capable. You don’t want to drive over a bridge constructed by an engineer who went to a school where testing was deemed to be worthless or racist, or biased.
You and I don’t want to live in a meritless based society. We’ve come too far in human civilization to resort to a time when anybody could pick up a scalpel and perform surgery or where anyone could construct a bridge because in the early days, perhaps, almost anyone had to.
Academic performance matters. Credentials matter. Competence matters. Demonstrating one’s intellectual capabilities is among the vital signs that you’re being served by a professional.
Where to Put Your Trust
What criterion would you suggest in place of merit? Ethnicity? Participation? Time on the job? Having friends in high places? With many activities in life, merit is not a factor, but these are usually personal and private, contained, local, and not forced upon the public.
When it comes to a life-threatening situation, public safety, public health, the orderly flow of vehicular traffic, the health and welfare of children, etc., I’ll take the high-performance testers every time.
Jeff Davidson is “The Work-Life Balance Expert®” and the premier thought leader on work-life balance, integration, and harmony. Jeff speaks to organizations that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people. He is the author of Breathing Space, Simpler Living, Dial it Down, and Everyday Project Management.