Jerry Kindall: The Dash

by Keith Madison

Earlier this year, baseball lost a great ambassador…Jerry Kindall. Some may remember Coach Kindall as a former Major League infielder, or an All-American shortstop at the University of Minnesota. Others may remember Jerry as a successful coach at the University of Arizona, winning two national championships. For those enamored with baseball trivia, they would recall that Jerry both played and coached in the College World Series. Younger baseball enthusiasts will know that he served as a TV color analyst for college games for many years. I remember him as a friend and mentor.  He taught me that faith, integrity and the way you treat others are far more important than wins and notoriety. He not only taught those principles to me, he lived them. Jerry’s life reminds me of a poem that I read several years ago.  This poem, “The Dash,” reminds me of the great life Jerry Kindall lived and the legacy he left for all of us to admire.

The Dash by Linda Ellis

I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of a friend.

He referred to the dates on the tombstone from beginning…to the end.

He noted that first came the date of birth and spoke of the following date with tears, but said what mattered most of all was the dash between those years.

For that dash represents all the time that they spent alive on earth.

And now only those who loved them know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not, how much we own, the cars…the house…the cash. 

What matters is how we live and love and how we spend our dash.

So, think about this long and hard. Are there things you’d like to change?

For you never know how much time is left that can still be rearranged.

If we could slow down enough to consider what’s true and real

and always try to understand the way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger and show appreciation more

and love the people in our lives like we’ve never loved before.

If we treat each other with respect and more often wear a smile,

remembering that this special dash might only last a little while.

So, when your eulogy is being read, with your life’s actions to rehash…

would you be proud of the things they say about how you spent your dash?

Coaches have an incredible opportunity to impact many lives in a positive way. Jerry Kindall left a legacy of character and a strong faith. Coach Kindall taught all who knew him that the competition is fantastic and the wins are rewarding, but it’s the “dash” that’s important. Live your dash.