In a way, baseball is like a mirror that allows you to look at yourself. How do you handle adversity? What do you do to celebrate success? How well do you work as a member of a team toward a common purpose? Do you obsess about your own skills and talents at the expense of team cohesiveness? Or do you fail to maximize your potential due to laziness letting down those who are relying on you to do your part? When luck seemingly is against you and teammates appear to abandon you, do you press on undaunted or look for scapegoats to carry part of the blame?
A now former Division I baseball player; Nick came highly touted. He pitched on a high profile AAU high school scout team and was drafted in the third round of the Major League Baseball Draft. Nick was an AFLAC High School All-American. Only one other high school draftee was picked before him that also chose college over professional baseball. In his freshman year at college the whole world seemed to be at his feet but adversity was dead ahead. Somehow Nick allowed himself to participate in an on campus burglary. He stole electronics and cash from a dorm and offices. Perhaps the biggest indiscretion and the most unforgivable was the theft of his baseball team’s food money. Nick would pay dearly for his poor judgment and selfishness. Even after admitting his guilt and apologizing, he was unceremoniously kicked off the team and out of college as well as placed on probation. Nick learned the life lesson that as in baseball, your future is created by what you do today, not what you do tomorrow.
To Nick’s credit it appears that his response to adversity was to face it head on. He transferred to a Junior College and began earning back the respect he used to get for free. However, further disappointment was again dead ahead. Nick was drafted in the 25th round of the Major League Baseball draft dropping sharply to just a roster filler. He also faced shoulder surgery, a year of redshirting, and a transfer to an NAIA school. This year I am sure he hopes to perform well and regain his draft status proving that “the size of your success is measured by the strength of your desire; the size of your dream; and how you handle disappointment along the way.”
I personally am rooting for Nick to do well. The world needs Nick to succeed. Baseball needs Nick to succeed. Nick needs Nick to succeed. In a way, we are similar to Nick. We allow ourselves to get into a jam. We make bad choices today that affect our tomorrows. We blame our team’s failure on other’s shortcomings instead of taking an inward looking approach. If we dare, we can find that baseball is not just a game. We find that baseball can be representative of life itself. Baseball is indeed like a mirror that allows you to look at yourself. The question is, when you see an imperfect reflection, what are you going to do about it today?