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Blackberry Moments

July 11, 2017

I recently read a book titled Unscripted by Sportscaster Ernie Johnson. Some of you may recognize his name as the host of pre- and post-game shows on TNT for the National Basketball Association. Ernie is the father of six children, four of which he and his wife adopted from third world countries. One of them is a boy with special needs that requires around-the-clock care.

In the book, Ernie often used the term “Blackberry Moments," which referred to points in time when something unexpected happened – positive or negative – and created a memory that would not soon be forgotten. The first one for him occurred when he played Little League baseball at the age of 9 or 10. A batter on the opposing team hit a ball that bounced over the outfield fence. Two outfielders on Ernie’s team climbed over the fence to retrieve the ball. While they were doing that, the Coach of Ernie’s team came onto the field to talk to the other players. After what seemed like a long time, the Coach looked beyond the fence to see what was going on and the two outfielders were still on the outside of the fence, now sitting under a tree eating blackberries. To the surprise of many, members of both teams proceeded to jump the fence and join them, delaying the game for quite some time.

This was Ernie’s first “Blackberry Moment," as it was unexpected and something he never forgot. He and his father re-told this story many times at speaking engagements they held. He said he remembers this happening, but does not remember what occurred during the Little League game or even if his team won. As you can imagine, Ernie being a sportscaster of many events throughout the years and having six children, he has experienced many "Blackberry Moments."

As I continued reading this book, I thought of "blackberry moments" in my life and how proud I was when I or my two daughters accomplished something unexpectedly, or were publicly recognized for an achievement that created an everlasting memory. Or, what I was doing or where I was when I was informed of negative or very sad news. I remember my older daughter giving the valedictorian speech at her high school graduation like it was yesterday. And I remember the exact play and where I was sitting when my younger daughter tore her ACL in a high school basketball game. I am sure everyone – like me – can think of many of these moments... particularly those of us in healthcare who have experienced joy and sadness in extremes.

I encourage all of you to think back to your own "blackberry moments" and how proud you are of the positive ones, and how you persevered through the challenging ones.