Big thanks to Lipscomb coach Greg Brown for forwarding me this article on Dansby Swanson that was written by Jason Quick for OrgeonLive.com. I'm going to post a few big take aways from the article but I promise you'll want to click hear and read Quick's article in its entirety. In fact, it will be an article that we will run and give to our team to read.
Here are some great parts of the article:
Quick talked about pushing Swanson with some tough questions but having no luck:
But through all my probing and pushing, and all his thoughtful answers, I couldn't find the hook to his story.
"You are tough,'' I told him.
He turned his head in confusion, then showed intrigue as I explained the basics of profile writing. The best profiles identify a protagonist and an antagonist, while developing the tug of war, or conflict, between the two. Sometimes, the story leads to a resolution, and other times it alludes to the clash ahead.
"You can't get the antagonist,'' Swanson surmised, before pausing. "Well ... I guess I feel life is too short to be negative.''
Then, it started to unfold. The protagonist, this great baseball player who has lived a charmed life, unknowingly started to reveal his antagonist.
His reveal wasn't what I expected from a 21-year-old, let alone a rising star who was hours from playing in his 11th professional game.
That antagonist pitted against Swanson? Life, and how the trends of society are threatening the way we treat each other, the way we interact. The challenge before him? Leading by example to initiate change.
He admits his life includes little else besides baseball, and the pursuit of greatness in the sport.
However, he knows the better he becomes, the greater stage he has to lead his charge for change.
"This is how I look at this,'' Swanson says. "Obviously, I've been blessed with a great platform. What I do with it is my gift back.''
Quick asked him about his what he wanted his platform to be about:
"Make this world a better place,'' Swanson said. "I've always thought about that question. Does what I'm involved in make everything better? Does me being on this team make the team better? Does me being here make this park better? Because I've lived in this world, is it better? I think that's important because it doesn't happen enough with people.''
He leans in and re-establishes eye contact, his deeper point about to arrive.
"Because, you see, people are so consumed with things that don't matter. In the grand scheme, what matters is how happy you are and how happy you make others. That's so lost these days. Everyone is so driven and they have their blinders on. So we end up living in a society where everything is me, me, me, me, me, me ... they don't worry about anything else around them. (Life) is more than a just-about- yourself type deal.''
And then he spoke about his love for his school:
Swanson says Vanderbilt is a life-shaping program, which is why he cried after the final out this season.
"I didn't cry because we had just lost,'' Swanson said. "I cried because I didn't want to leave. What has been built there is soooo incredible. You are surrounded with the best people you can imagine, and you know as well as I do that when you surround yourself with good people, it makes you better. And that's what we take pride in: making each other better. Not just baseball wise. In school, as a person, you name it. That's why I want to back to live in Nashville, so I can be around everyone.''
It was at Vanderbilt where the roots of his leadership skills took hold. When he was injured his freshman year, he observed the different types of leadership exhibited by various seniors. He found he gravitated toward the exuberant leadership of Tony Kemp.
"I found that the best leaders are the ones who are servant based first,'' Swanson said. "There is a difference between leadership and authority. Authority is more of a title, whereas a leader is the one who is always helping someone first. I think that gets lost in translation these days. Just because you have power doesn't make you a leader.''