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Articles & Ideas


Gratitude and Coach Ben Hammerschmidt

Important Note: This article was written prior to 2010 and is now outdated. Please use my newest advancement, Optimal EFT. It is more efficient, more powerful and clearly explained in my free e-book, The Unseen Therapist™.  Best wishes, Gary

by Gary Craig

Hi Everyone,

Here are two lines from a lengthy poem I wrote out of gratitude to my high school football coach at his 1978 retirement dinner.

"For those who can and those who cannot,
Are separate only by the size of their thought."

Those words and that poem have echoed in my head for 21 years. We will talk about the poem later but first, some thoughts about gratitude and an EFT related use.

There's something very therapeutic about gratitude. At least that's how it seems to me. When it fills the air, both the giver and the receiver come out winners. Why? Because both feel good about themselves and the other person. There are no losers when gratitude is around.

When we are filled with gratitude we radiate a special love--a contagious form of divine peace that is picked up by those around us. Those who walk this planet with a consistent attitude of gratitude are delights to be around. Gratitude isn't just a "positive attitude." Properly done, it takes over the whole system and snuffs out any form of negativity. Think about it! When you are filled with gratitude are you able, at the same time, to give any weight to your grievances? No! I think not. It seems to me that we experience one or the other--but not both. One brings us happiness and the other brings us grief. Interestingly, we have a choice. Being grateful or hateful is up to us.

To those in the healing professions, great progress could be made by setting gratitude as a client goal. I think it would be a marvelous setting for finding core issues while working within the overall goal of achieving a "State of Grace" (consistent gratitude). Perhaps we could start with an affirmation like...."I'm grateful for everything and everyone around me including.....(name some grievances here)." Tail enders or "yes buts" are bound to show up and these become obvious candidates for EFT. As the ballast is removed, the gratitude balloon begins to rise and clients make loving shifts that soar above the petty problems of everyday life. I think this idea has major merit. We could call it Graduate into Gratitude. Gee, we might even try it on ourselves and become examples of how it works. But then, why do that? It would only serve to enhance our lives and make us better teachers.

Something more about is free. Further, when you give it you can't help but feel gratitude inside. This is what is meant when spiritual writings say that giving and receiving are the same. They aren't talking about giving and receiving material things. They are talking about giving and receiving love, gratitude, good will, etc. When you are giving these things out, you are experiencing (receiving) them at the same time. It's automatic. It's a law. Try giving out genuine gratefulness or love sometime without experiencing these things yourself. Let me know if you are able to do it. It's one of the few things I have on my "impossible list."

So....we need to practice gratefulness now and then--maybe even more than "now and then." We need to pay tribute to everyone, especially those who have written on our walls in positive ways and guided us toward our true potentials. These are the people who have encouraged us by pointing out our inborn majesty. They are our personal cheerleaders that tend to overlook our presumed frailties as if they didn't exist (do they?). Sometimes they are our parents, sometimes not. Sometimes they are our teachers, coaches or religious leaders. Sometimes they are our friends. Sometimes they are with us for long periods (like my Mom) and sometimes they pass through our lives for brief periods but leave their mark on us for decades (like Coach Ben).

Coach Ben Hammerschmidt was my high school baseball and football coach. He was born to be a coach. He looked, walked and talked the part. A husky, sturdily built man, he consistently exuded enthusiasm for the game and was always an example of the discipline required to excel. He was also a gentle man. An understanding man. A man who, by his example, taught me much about life. I was in awe of him as were countless other would be gladiators that were lucky enough to be on his teams.

In 1978 I was asked to say something at his retirement dinner. I wrote a poem of gratitude to him and read it to the 500 attendees (his former athletes). I recited it again at my recent Cleveland EFT trainings and put it on film. It will be part of the Palace of Possibilities video series and will be sent to my coach in gratitude. The poem is called "A Voice" and I share it with you below.


May I tell you a story, about a voice that I hear?
It's often been with me for the past 20 years.
It guides me through life and helps set me straight.
It's the voice of my coach, a man who is great.
The voice doesn't speak, nor come on with a blare,
But it is nonetheless, constantly there.

I remember a time, when playing third base,
When the bases were loaded, and I lost some face.
Two men were out and the score was tied,
And I was asleep, I could have cried.
A gentle liner was hit, I reacted too slow.
It struck my glove and bounced to and fro.
The ball rolled forward, the runners went speeding,
And inside my body was a heart quickly beating.
I raced for the ball, that long afternoon.
And hurled it to first, to big Dan McCune.
Dan made a stretch as far as he dare.
OUT! said the ump, but by less than a hair.

There was no criticism, nor was there reproach,
From the voice that still guides me, the voice of my coach.
He could have said, "'Where was your head?"
Or given me reason to wish I were dead.
But as I jogged off the field, I heard coach Ben say,
"It was only your hustle that made that good play."

Of the good things he spoke, not of the bad.
And those I still hear, as though he were Dad.
How lucky I am to be privileged to sit,
In the comfortable presence of Coach Hammerschmidt.

And another time, I clearly recall,
In the year '58, approaching the fall.
When Coach Ben made a comment I'll never forget.
It's always been with me, on that you can bet.

But a little history must now set the stage,
For that comment so large that no one can gauge.
'Twas a football scrimmage, the first of the year.
They had the ball first, we all felt some fear.
Their quarterback faded and threw a bad pass.
It fell in my arms, without any class.
I claim no award for the next event,
For I ran unchallenged, for a score hell bent.
Of course it felt good, though the feat was not great.
It created a high I recall to this date.

One week later, just before our first game,
The students assembled, all of them came.
And Coach Ben took the mike and told of our team.
And last week's scrimmage, he began to beam.
He told of that touchdown that was to their plague,
And referred to me then as The Great Gary Craig.

Now...he didn't say good, or pretty darn fair.
Great was the word that filled all the air.
And standing was I amidst all my peers,
Using all of my "manhood" to disguise many tears.
My soul had been filled with much self belief,
By Ben with his stature as Commander in Chief.
No one but Ben could say what he said,
And impact a young boy, and fill up his head.
For Coach Ben to me was bigger than earth,
With the power to fill me with all that self worth.

The season went on, his words in my soul,
And more than just once, we crossed a few goals.

Now the years have gone by, it's two decades hence.
And the voice is still with me, still making sense.
It calls to me often, letting me know,
That nothing can stop me wherever I go.
For those who can and those who cannot,
Are separate only by the size of their thought.

Now today is the day for a splendid occasion.
To honor my Coach, a man of persuasion.
To give him some love from those who have taken,
And let him retire from a field he has shaken.
But I cannot permit that voice to fade out.
It must carry on so that fewer will doubt.
So the voice of my Coach will not dormant lie.
It'll live on and on, after Ben and I die.

For I have a son, his age is now seven.
Adam's his name, a descendent from heaven.
And my son has a nickname that will help him, I beg,
For I often call him The Great Adam Craig.


With Gratitude, Gary


Explore our newest advancement, Optimal EFT™, by reading my free e-book, The Unseen Therapist™. More efficient. More powerful.