Respect is More Important Than Affection

By Jill E. Wolforth

A couple weeks ago, Coach Wolforth and I were in Minneapolis for a business conference. At this year’s event Penn from Penn & Teller was the keynote speaker. If you haven’t heard of Penn & Teller, they are one of if not the most successful entertainment duo in the world, performing routines which combine comedy and magic.


The Wolforth’s with Penn from Penn & Teller

Penn’s story was very interesting, mastering his skills as a street performer in Philadelphia, PA, where street performing was illegal. One story he shared was how all the other street performers told him that it was important to appear “needy” in order to receive more “tips” from the people passing by. Penn did not buy into this premise and dressed in a suit with a nice tie and nice watch. And guess what?   Combining his professional look with his show he far surpassed all the other street performers in income.

There were two statements from Penn that I made special note of:

  1. “The genius is one who is most like himself.” I find this very interesting in today’s society where it seems that we are told by so many others how we should look or act, what we should study or pursue, where we should live and how we should think.       I believe the he takes the term “genius” and shifts it out of the traditional context to which most of us think. My personal interpretation of his statement is “To thine own self be true.”

To me this plays itself out regularly in baseball by those who constantly tell young players they need to be realistic, that playing baseball in college or definitely professionally is a pipedream. Trust me, there were numerous people that thought Coach Wolforth was crazy to leave a Division I coaching job to start a baseball/softball training facility.

  1. “Respect lasts a lot longer than affection.” The duo of Penn & Teller are now going into their 40th year of working together. Yes, 40 years. That’s a long time for anyone to work together and he truly believes their successful relationship is due to the fact they respect each other and not that they have affection for one another. He shared that they seldom spend any of their personal time together.  It’s 99% business.

I think both of these statements have a lot to do with the success of Penn & Teller. They are who they are and they respect each other. That’s a combination worth pursuit for all of us.

As I look at many young people in baseball and softball, I will hear comments about coaches such as “I just don’t like him/her.” Guess what, Penn says, it’s not about affection. I remember Mike Candrea, Head Softball Coach at the University of Arizona once say “If you want a friend, buy a dog”. That was 20+ years ago. Today people would hear that and think it was harsh. No, it’s not harsh. It’s his knowing what REALLY needs to occur to win.

To be a successful team the bottom line is, we as individuals need to do our own jobs, using our unique skills and abilities and combine that with a respect for one another. We don’t have to spend our off time together, we don’t have to like one another, we just need to respect that we each have a role to play.

At the Texas Baseball Ranch, we work to help each individual create their own personalized program emphasizing the specific needs of this individual whether that is arm health, command, velocity, mental toughness, etc. while taking advantage of the strengths he/she already possess.

People often ask what “elite” means in our “Elite Pitchers Boot Camp”. Simple, elite to us is not your current performance level but the desire in your heart to play at the next level whatever that level might be. We respect where each athlete is currently and take a great amount of pride in helping them achieve their goals.

If these are the qualities you’re looking for in a baseball training program, I encourage you to join us this summer at an “Elite Pitchers Boot Camp” or as part of our “Extended Stay Summer Intensive Program”. You can learn more at com or call our office at (936) 588-6762


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