The Resolute Man Finds a Way
There are few events more conducive to making a 14 year old boy have an anxiety attack than putting him on a pitcher’s mound in a game in front of 30 of his very attractive female peers. I learned this lesson the hard way during my first 9th grade high school baseball game, pitching poorly and getting pulled from the game just an inning into the contest. Unfortunately, my first poor showing turned into a string of losses that eventually led to me getting cut from the team after the season.
Feeling extremely depressed and discouraged after losing my spot on the team, I began to wonder where my place in the sport, and ultimately in life, was. My infatuation with baseball started off as nothing more than a way for me to make friends in a new community but eventually grew into something much more: a love affair that consumed my life, created my identity, and served as a physical outlet for my mental and emotional unrest. I knew that if I didn’t want to lose my first true love I’d have to extend my playing days beyond the high school field, where I was no longer given a chance, and into the collegiate arena.
Thus, I developed a rigorous and meticulous plan to somehow earn an offer to play college baseball. The cold, iron weight room forged out an indifference to pain that helped me push through obstacles that I never thought possible. Running at the track at night forced me to focus on the next step, always striving to give 100% as I legged out the last few yards of a sprint. My favorite part of training would be long-tossing in the 300 yard open field behind my school. Over the months my high-arcing, maximum effort tosses stretched farther and farther, representing the progress I was making as both a pitcher and person as I tossed aside people’s assumptions about my skills and broke through new plateaus of confidence and skill.
After a few years and many long days of practice, I found myself back on the mound in the position I had coveted for months: a showcase where I had the chance to perform in front of 100 college coaches and finally prove myself. Digging deep and utilizing all of the skills I had gained over the past few years, I gave up no runs and stuck out 3 in my two innings of work. At the end of the day, I had 6 college offers from high academic schools and was the happiest kid in the world. No matter what future games I pitch, win or lose, there will never be one more important than the metaphorical one that I’ve played against myself these past few years, one where I can say that I’m stepping off the mound with a label I’ve proudly created for myself: I am a winner, and that is a distinction which can never be taken from me.