posted by Matt W on November 7th, 2012

Everyone has that moment in time they would like back. Some are little blips in life, while others literally change the way people think about you. I for example would like to replay a homerun that was hit against my softball team years ago. The ball barely cleared the fence and I had a perfect jump on it. It was a perfect opportunity to make an amazing catch, but at the last second, I pulled up for no reason and watched as the ball dropped a couple feet over the fence. Fortunately, no one remembers that moment in my life but me. Others have not been so lucky.

Roberto Duran was a great fighter. Many referred to him as the toughest fighter of his time. He had hands of stone; seriously, that was his nickname. In one of his biggest fights, after the round ended, he went to the corner and famously told the referee,”No Mas, No Mas (no more, no more).” While some think of him as one of the greatest fighters ever, most remember him for quitting a fight. Even now, when anyone wants to quit a sporting event, if they wave their hands and say, “No mas. No, mas” everyone knows that means, “I quit.” I’m sure Roberto would like to have those 15 seconds back.

George Lucas is one of the most famous movie writer/director/producers of all time creating both the Star Wars and Indiana Jones movie series. Not bad. And he is a billionaire because of these successes. I happened to see Star Wars in the theatre when it first came out and remember how incredible it was, it was like nothing I had ever seen before. Amazing.  And yet when I think of George Lucas, my first thought is “What was going through your head when you created Jar Jar Binks?” Seriously, he created R2D2 and couldn’t tell this long eared character sucked. Episode 1 was such a bad movie, it put a taint on the entire franchise and his legacy.

Another sports star that would like to take back a moment in time is Bill Buckner. Bill Buckner was a stud. He was an all star, won a batting title, and was always considered one of the harder outs in baseball. He was a gamer. But unfortunately, he let the ball roll through his legs to lose the World Series and everyone only knows him as the “ball between the legs guy” or if you’re from Boston “the guy who lost us the World Series.” This guy won a batting title and this mistake is what he is remembered for. I did think it was incredibly cool that during a recent big game at Fenway, he came back and received a standing ovation from the fans. I will say it was probably a lot easier for the Boston fans to forgive him after the Sox had won a world series.

There are other people as well, such as, Michael “Bong hit” Phelps instead of Olympic Champion; Arnold “Guy with really, really bad taste in mistresses” Schwarzenegger instead of Mr. Olympian, actor, or governor; Pete “Bets on his own team” Rose, instead of Hall of Famer Charlie Hustle. I’m sure all wish they could have that time in their life back. Kermit “Anger management” Washington, Alexander “Did I really say duel?” Hamilton, and Elliot “$10,000 dollars? Really? You better be amazing” Spitzer, the list goes on and on.  

While each of these people would no doubt like to have a do-over, the other characteristic they share is they each excelled at what they did at the highest of levels. They each put themselves in a position where a bad decision or bad bounce impacted their lives dramatically, but they also had some great successes. And as Frank Wilczek the famous physicist once said, “If you don’t make mistakes, you’re not working on hard enough problems. And that’s a big mistake.”

File Under Jack of all Trades