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Be a Tyler Campbell

By Joey Havens

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All my posts won’t be about sports. I promise. But my time at the College World Series gave me some really great insights into leadership and teams. Especially my observations of Tyler Campbell.

To put it bluntly, Campbell was an afterthought heading into the College World Series. But on June 21, 2014, he was Vanderbilt University’s hero. He was the backup third baseman – thrust into a starting role due to a teammate’s suspension – and Campbell stepped up to propel the Commodores to the College World Series Final against Virginia.

Campbell, only a sophomore, came into that game on college baseball’s biggest stage having only 21 at bats for the entire year. The chances he would even play in the CWS was primarily as a pinch runner at some point. Yet, on that night in the bottom of the 10th inning with the teams locked in an incredible tie game, Campbell stepped up to lead his team to victory. The bases were loaded, two outs and two strikes on him at the plate. (I might mention that he is hitless for the game also, I think 0-3.)

I’m not sure how you can put more pressure on a young man at this point. His bases loaded infield single didn’t look like much, but it was a game winner. His hit was against Texas’s best reliever who throws some really nasty pitches. Campbell hit the ball to Texas’s shortstop who was having a career series and who had made every defensive play. The difference was Campbell’s effort to run that ball out with all of his ability. In fact, he got down that first base line so fast, the play wasn’t even that close. Ballgame!!! Vandy went on to play for and win the national championship.

Why do I share this story with you? Tyler Campbell is one of 27 ballplayers on the Vanderbilt team. He knew going into that game that he was in a backup role, but also understanding that it was his responsibility to be ready for his team. He stepped up and led his team to victory. He didn’t let the moment overtake him. He practiced hard—knowing that at some point, everyone has to lead.

The same is true for us. At HORNE, everyone has to lead to continue on the journey to becoming the Wise Firm. And in any organization that is pursuing greatness, everyone has to lead to be unrivaled. Everyone has to practice. Everyone has to be focused. Yes, everyone has to be ready to lead.

So I guess the question today is, “Will you be your team’s Tyler Campbell?”