I would like to share a short story about a lesson I learned a long time ago and have never forgotten. In my current position I have the opportunity to meet and work with many young medics. I was conversing with one the other day and I said ,”I don’t like teaching some new medics” and she replied,”Your not unique most people in EMS don’t like teaching new people”.
That’s a problem, when I was a pup of a medic many years ago I had some of the best medics in the world teach and mentor me. Carl During, Bobby Jones, Tom Skinner and Ken Batson to name a few shaped my early career and later came Sharone Stewart , Tom Kelly and Bill Little. They taught me and mentored me, not in a formal way but they took every opportunity to share their knowledge and experience with me. Fast forward to today what has changed ? I think I know and I can best explain in a story from my past.
One of my best friends in the world , we will call him Murray was a 6 foot 4 inch point guard with an awesome jumper and a great inside game and played for a major Division 1 program and for a time was a serious pro prospect. During our summer breaks Murray and I would visit different courts around the city and county trying to find “good” games. We where looking for the best players to play against. This particular summer day we heard that the best players where at Murphy Homes in the inner city. Being suburban kids we just didn’t go into the city but if that’s where the best player where then that’s where we where going to be. Off we went in the 1985 Volkswagen Quantum 5 speed war wagon. Still my favorite car of all times, but that’s another story.
Murray was playing particularly well that day and some how I ended up sitting out a few games. I think its just how it lined up when we shot for teams, I really don’t remember the particulars. The thing was that day Murray was talking a lot of smack because the local didn’t initially respect his game and made some disparaging remarks about him and they may have even mentioned his mother. They didn’t know him all they knew is he wasn’t from around there. That day he played as well as I had ever seen him play, he couldn’t miss and he let everyone know it. Jumper after after jumper, lay up after lay up he was money. The local basketball court legends didn’t like being shown up by 2 outsiders. I include myself in this because he was my friend and we where there together.
After like his fifth strait win and shooting a jumper in the face of the best player on the other team and just humiliating the poor guy in front of his friends I look up and Murray is getting the crap beat out of him by it seemed like everyone in the projects. I go running in to help and I get the crap kick out of me. Fortunately back then there where no guns you just took your beating and left and that’s exactly what we did.
Bruised and battered we made our way to the war wagon and home to the suburbs. Limping home with black eyes, busted lips and bruised egos I sarcastically asked Murray,” What did we learn today ?”
In all seriousness those guy taught both of us a life lesson we have never forgotten, humility. To be humble in all things you do. Never humiliate someone because your better or know more. That being humble will take you further than being cocky. These guys didn’t mind losing they just didn’t like being humiliated. Murray and I had an obligation while winning and losing to conduct ourselves in a classy respectful manner and to afford everyone their dignity.
What is missing from these new medics that makes older medics not want to teach them ? Yup a trip to the basketball court.