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Saturday, March 12, 2011
Lawrence Peter Berra: Why Yogi?
(Photo from Googie man)
What is the sound of one hand catching?If you said “Yogi Berra,” you’d be paradoxically correct.
Why paradoxically?Because that isn’t his real name. However, it is the name that everyone knows him by. Therefore, the name “Yogi Berra” is both true and not true at the same time.Kind of like many of the sayings that Yogi himself is best known for…
Sayings like these:The future ain’t what it used to be. It gets late early out here.If the world were perfect, it wouldn’t be.When you come to a fork in the road… Take it.Plus the famous disclaimer:I didn’t really say everything I said.
According to Wikipedia, a Yogi is a practitioner of Yoga. (Pretty straightforward – no paradox yet.)“Yoga” is then defined as “joining” or “uniting.”It is derived from the same Sanskrit word as the English word “yoke” is. Now imagine two oxen yoked together while pulling in different directions.There you have it – the paradoxical essence of Yogi and his Yogiisms!
It’s no wonder that Lawrence Peter Berra had the body language (crossed arms and legs, somber expression) of a traditional Yogi (which is why his buddy, Bobby Hofman, began calling him such).Berra himself was not always on board with this nickname.He particularly objected to the teasing about his alleged namesake… Yogi Bear.
Like it or not, in many ways, Yogi has been better than the average (bear or otherwise).So much so, that in 1972 he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.The Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center, plus the Yogi Berra Stadium, also attest to the impact that Yogi has had on sports history. More than that, he has had an impact on sportsmanship history.Even today, he continues to teach up-and-coming athletes about what’s ultimately important in the game of life.
Therefore, Berra exemplifies the spirit of his most famous Yogiism of all:It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.
(And, according to Yoga teachings, it will never be over…)