Almost 50 years ago, I was in high school with Joe Moeller. He is not a household name, but he might have been, had he gotten better guidance from adults. I want to talk about this.
He was the youngest pitcher ever brought up from the minors by the Dodgers. He was signed in 1960, immediately after high school. They brought him up in 1961. He was 19 years old.
He was a year behind me in high school. His older brother Gary was in my class. But anyone who followed sports on campus knew who Joe was. He was a great baseball pitcher, probably the best high school pitcher in Southern California in 1960, the year after I graduated. The team wasn’t great, but he surely was.
What none of us knew was that he had been a national champion in archery.
Before Joe picked up a baseball glove, his father pushed him into archery. At six, he won the state championship in Illinois, where he spent his earliest years. The family — dressed in Western attire — performed a vaudeville routine in rodeos and sports shows, with Papa Joe firing at balloons William Tell-style, and the rest of the family shooting bows and arrows.
Joe was forced to practice archery every afternoon until dark under his father’s watchful eye starting at a young age. “I hated archery,” Joe admits.
One day he got up the courage to ask his father an audacious question. “If I win the national championship, can I stop shooting archery?”
Dad thought about it and finally agreed, so young Moeller practiced intensely every day. “There was a focus and a concentration that helped me later on,” he notes. He won the national junior title at the U.S. Nationals held in Sacramento and never touched a bow and arrow again.
He hated archery so much, that he became the best in the country in order to get it out of his life. That is dedication. I’m not exactly sure what it’s dedication to.
His father continued to push him.
(For the rest of the article, click the link.)