You Can’t Win if You Don’t Try

A recent newspaper article reminded me of a motto I adopted years ago: You can’t win if you don’t try.

The article described how Jess Parrish, a wood carver, wanted to plunge into the world of ice carving. Ice carvers in his state refused to grant him an apprenticeship, though. The market was small, and they feared training a competitor.

Jess turned to the internet, which led him to the National Ice Carving Association and to his first competition six years ago in Green River, Wyoming. His chain saw burned up with two hours left to go in his event. He left early, not waiting around for the rest of the two-day competition.

Then, Jess received a phone call telling him that because he was the sole entrant in the amateur category, he was the de facto winner. He was encouraged to pursue ice carving, which he did. Four years later, he launched his own business.

Jess Parrish, of Longmont, works on an ice sculpture of a dragon outside Todd Reed Jewelry Store in Boulder on Dec. 1. Parrish has been ice carving for about six years and launched his business, Cool Hand Ice Carving, about two years ago. (Kira Horvath/Longmont Times-Call)

Jess Parrish, right, places huge slabs of ice into place with the help of his apprentice, Joaquin Botello, as they begin working on an ice sculpture of a dragon outside Todd Reed Jewelry Store in Boulder on Dec. 1. (Kira Horvath/Longmont Times-Call)

Twenty years ago, my boys were winners in a local coloring contest. They won first and third places in their respective age groups. Eric, aged five, won a can filled with Crayola markers. Colin, aged two, delighted in the stuffed bunny he won. When we picked up their prizes, we learned one of the reasons they’d won was because there were more prizes than participants.

Cake making 1993
Eric and Colin making a Mother’s Day cake, 1993.

I’ve heard a variation of my motto. You can’t hit the ball if you don’ t swing the bat. Would Eric and Colin have won had there been more competitors? Who knows. What we do know is this. They swung their bats and they hit the balls.

Eric & Colin Buley
Eric: 2006. Crayola tin: 1993. Colin: 2008.

I keep the Crayola tin on my desk as a reminder to swing my bat. And I swung three times in the past month. Last week, I learned that I hit the ball when I received a phone call offering me the media assistant position I’d applied for at Hellgate High School.

I started yesterday. Walking into the Hellgate library, where I served as a volunteer from 2004-2006, I felt like I had hit the ball out of the park.

4 thoughts on “You Can’t Win if You Don’t Try

  1. First time I’ve read all of this, it is great, and a wonderful story. Yes,Yes, you surely aren’t a quitter, and you have hit many HOME RUNS!!!!WAY TO GO AND KEEP ON GOING! Love and MUCH PRIDE in our #1 daughter, Mama

  2. You and Dad taught me the power of persistence, Mom, along with many other valuable life lessons. Thank you.

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