The entire baseball world was filled with sadness Wednesday morning after hearing the news that Hall of Fame catcher Yogi Berra passed away at age 90. Everybody loves Yogi Berra, not just because of his incredible play on the field but because of his jubilant personality and charming wit off the field. This is personified through his Yogi-isms, famous quotes that are considered to be somewhat silly in nature. Most people feel that these lines butcher the English language, and aren’t to be taken too seriously.
But what if I told you that Yogi-isms are absolutely brilliant, and reflect upon important aspects of life in subtle ways? In this column I’ll go into my favorite Yogi-isms and explain why they are works of genius.
“It ain’t over till it’s over.”
Easily Berra’s most famous line, this is an expression that is used in all walks of life, whether you are watching your favorite team play or attempting the cinnamon challenge.
Berra said this in 1973 when he was managing the Mets, who were in last place in their division. Reporters assumed Berra was going to lose his job, and one of them asked him, “Is it all over, Yogi?”
Berra’s response turned out to be appropriate, because the Mets would come back to win the division and make it all the way to the World Series.
This Yogi-ism has a simple but crucial meaning: Never give up, no matter how bad things look. Life is full of crazy twists and turns. Just like how the ‘73 Mets won their division with a measly 82-79 record, you can experience lots of failure and still turn yourself into a success.
“It’s déjà vu all over again!”
Yogi apparently exclaimed this when his teammates Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris hit back-to-back home runs. Ever experienced déjà vu multiple times? I’m sure Berra did, because in the 1961 season Maris and Mantle combined for 115 home runs, still an all-time record. He would have seen them hit a lot of home runs together.
“I usually take a two-hour nap from 1 to 4.”
This epitomizes a college student, or any lazy person in general. ever told your friend “Yeah, I’m just gonna take an hour long nap” only to wake up two hours later with them yelling at you? No? Well I have.
“Baseball is 90 percent mental. The other half is physical.”
So, if the mental half is 90 percent of the game, that implies that the physical half is also 90 percent. This means that Yogi gave roughly 180 percent in all of his games, something that no other baseball player can ever honestly say they’ve done. Berra proved it in 1962 when he caught all 22 innings of an extra-inning game, as a 37-year-old. This is the combination of heart, spirit and intelligence that is required to be the greatest catcher ever.
“When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”
Where most people see a fork in the road as only two options, Yogi sees beyond into a world of endless possibilities. Don’t limit yourself to choices that you or someone else deemed your best or only options. Break off the predetermined paths and create your own.