Wednesday, November 13, 2013

No One Makes It Alone

No One Makes It Alone by Andrew A. Valdez

Judge Valdez spoke at the Multicultural Leadership Conference held at Weber State University last month.  He was giving away copies of his book.  I was able to procure one and have just finished reading it.  It is autobiographical and tells of his growing up in the “bad part of town” and how he was mentored by a local small business man.  Much of the story is about his learning to play tennis – but the massage is that with hard work and someone to help, one can overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges.  Later in life Judge Valdez was able to serve the man who saved him – thus the title, No One Makes It Alone.

On A Kid Needs a Safe Place: Andy would rather work at the print shop where he felt safe.  It was his escape, a place to go and make some money.  p. 28

On Why One Should Play Sports:  Jack – “. . . I want you to play sports.  That’s hard work, too.”


“To get you off the streets.  To teach you how to behave, to follow rules, to get along with people.” p.29

On No One Makes It Alone: Jack – “. . . no one makes it alone Andy.  No one makes it alone . . . okay?” p. 32

On Practice: Jack – “It takes practice.  It takes a lot of practice.  This is a tough game.  You have to have a lot of practice.  Give it time.” p. 35

On the Need of One to Do Their Own Work:  Jack went on, “What’s left?  Tennis.  What you do in tennis, like bullfighting, is strictly up to you.  Nobody in the world can do anything to really help you but yourself.  All the coaching and advice and teaching won’t mean a damn.  The bullfighter, the boxer and the tennis player, they make it on their own.  If they’ve got the guts and the skill – they make it.

“That guy with the sword waiting for the bull, he’s on his own.  You’re out on the court alone.  No one can come in to take your place if you’re tired or sick or your arm hurts or you twist your ankle or the heat is getting you. It’s all yours.  Nobody on the bench.  You come out a winner – great.  Real great.  You lose, who cares.  You get all the credit.  You get all the blame.”  p. 50

On Learning by Losing: Jack – “Don’t ever forget, you learn to play by losing,” Jack reminded Andy. . . “You learn what you’re doing wrong and what the other guy is doing right.  That’s what you learn by losing. “pp. 58 – 59

On Machines: Jack – “. . . All Machines are antagonistic to people.  Printing presses hate anyone who makes them work.  They smash your finger and break your hand and cut you up every chance they get.  Look at the paper cutter.  It’s sitting there just waiting for a chance to cut my arm off one of these bad days. You’ve got to look out for machines.  You’ve got to have respect for them.  Don’t fool around or get careless.  They’re just waiting for the right time to grab you.” p. 68

On Feeling Needed and Wanting to Remember the Boy:  Jack looked at the boy.  He wanted to get the picture securely in his mind, so someday he would be able to remember it exactly as it was.  He would remember the feeling and how fine it was to be with the boy and watch him grow and help him when he needed help and be needed by him.  The best feeling of all was be needed.  Without that, you didn’t really have anything of value.  Without that, your whole time of living didn’t mean very much at all. p. 77

On Jinxing the One You Want to Win: . . . He wanted to be there and witness it.  It was something he would be able to taste and talk about all winter.  But, he was afraid to go.  He didn’t want to jinx the boy.  Whatever Andy was doing, it was one-hundred-percent right.   pp. 83 – 84

On That Prayer One Gives:  Jack – . . . Listen to me.  Ask what you will.  I will do it.  I will do it.  Anything.  Anything you ask.  Just this once.  And strike me dead if I don’t do what you ask, only now let him let him . . . let him . . .  pp. 85 – 86

On Practice: Mr. Trane – “Practice, that’s the big thing.  Practice, practice, practice.  It never ends.  Tell him I said to keep at it.” p. 91

On Summer Passes Quickly, Winter Slow: The summer had passed so quickly.  It wasn’t likely winter would hurry.  It never did.  p. 106

On Those Who Want the War Over, Winning It:  Jack – “It was the draftees that won the war, believe me.  Those regular Army guys didn’t care how long it lasted.  p. 116

On Their Troubles Bringing Them Together:  Jack - . . . He lives ten miles on the other side of town.  I’ll have to work something out.”

Brian – “He should live on the east side and have parents with money.  Then. He wouldn’t have any problems.”

Jack – “Brilliant observation.”

Brian – “One things for sure.  If Andy hadn’t had his troubles, and you hadn’t had yours, you would have never, met the boy.”

Jack – “Just dumb luck, I guess.” Jack smiled.  p. 130

On the Hard Is Good:  Jack – “Of course it’s hard.  If it was easy you wouldn’t have any problems.”  p. 131

On Earning the Right “to Swear”:  Jack – “I earned the right.  You get my age, you’ll have earned the right to swear.  You don’t get anything in this world without earning it.”  p. 149

On School Being for the Student:  Jack – “All right.  You don’t go to school for the benefit of the teachers.  The school was built at great expenses for you.  You’re the only reason they’ve got a job – to help you be somebody.  Get a good education and learn how to grow up and be somebody useful.  You’ve got to have a good education to get a good job.  You’ve got to have a good job to make good money.  You’ve got to have money to do the things you want to do and buy the things you want to buy.” P. 200

On Earning Success:  Jack – It’s all there for you.  You just have to want it real bad.  THer’s a saying by the Spanish, ‘In this life take what you want.  But pay for it.’  You get the point?”

Andy sighed, “Yeah, I get the point.  I can have anything I want, but first I have to do y lessons and get along with the teachers.”  p. 201

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