It was a game “where the real action took place off the field.”
This subtitle appeared above an article titled “Take Me Out to The Blackberry Patch” in a recent edition of Reader’s Digest. The article was written by Ernie Johnson, Jr., sportscaster and host of NBC’s “Inside the NBA.”
In the article, Johnson recalls a little league game of eight-year-olds when the baseball score was tied. During a time-out, so the coach of Johnson’s team could discuss strategy, they noticed two of their outfielders had disappeared into the brush to retrieve a fastball.
During the search, the two missing players discovered a blackberry patch, delaying the game as they feasted on the “mother lode of ripe and apparently delicious blackberries,” he says.
Johnson doesn’t recall the outcome of the game, but the incident struck a chord for his father, a major league pitcher in the 1950s. From then on, says Johnson, “it simply became ‘the blackberry moment.’”
When his father transitioned from the playing field to a sports broadcaster, he became a popular speaker at events. While his dad shared stories about the notable stars he had played beside during his career, he always ended his speech with “the blackberry moment.”
The story, writes Johnson, “has become, in many ways, central to my perspective on work, relaxation—shoot life. It’s a kind a parable about not being afraid to step away from the game (translated: the job, the meeting, the list of e-mails, the seemingly pressing matter at hand) to appreciate the unexpected, unscripted moments.”