School & Baseball

Well with most of us still playing baseball, whether it be high school or college. We all have to deal with the dreads of balancing school work, practice time, and a social life. This at times can seem daunting; it can make you wanna just quit and focus on one thing. I’m just writing about it because it happened to me last year and caused me to lose lots of quality innings as a freshman in college. I’m sure some of you have no problems balancing the two and I applaud you, I believe that is the absolute toughest thing to do in life.

At the same time don’t take it for granted though. I was like some of you, when I was in high school things kind of came easy and I could mainly focus on baseball and still do pretty well in school. I ended up graduating with a weighted GPA of 4.2, unweighted 3.5. So I went into college expecting the load to be a bit heavier but still just kind of shrugged it off. Well when we started conditioning in the fall we had 5 am workouts that lasted till 7 am. I had 8 am classes everyday so I knew this was going to be tough. For those of you who aren’t in college yet, the attendance policy is a little different than high school.

You’re expected to act like an adult and show up to class. So if you miss class… you miss class. There’s no such thing is an excused absence, you are responsible for making up missed work and getting notes and lectures from classmates. Also, absences don’t count against you. You could show up to class twice a semester and still pass if you ace all the exams (although thats physically impossible). Anyways, I took this for granted and slept in on days that we had workouts and kept telling myself, “I’ll be fine… I’ll get the notes from someone” Well the absences piled up and so did the work. I found my self trying to crank out 11 page research papers the night before class and staying up till 3 am when I had workouts that morning at 5. Needless to say I fell behind in class and it came back to bite me… big time.

I wound up failing one class and was put on academic probation during the spring. I was still eligible (just barely), but I had to take extra hours and spend whatever free time I had with tutors. Trust me, not how you want to live everyday during an already stressful part of the year. One day my coach called me into his office and informed me that I had been removed from the Varsity roster until further notice. (In DII there are Varsity and JV squads, JV squads play other JV squads and Jucos). I had worked really hard during the fall to impress the coaches and earn a spot. For the most part I did, I earned a job as a long-reliver/spot-starter. I was one of the only 3 freshman pitchers on Varsity. This hit me like a brick, I never had problems in school and now I was having the worst time in my life.

I wound up having to stay on the JV roster and was left of the playoff roster for Varsity. Also, I wound up staying at school for the summer to bring up my GPA and get some extra hours. I just wanted to let some of you kids who are going into college and are playing baseball; even you guys who are still in high school. DON’T NEGLECT YOUR SCHOOL WORK. You truly do not understand how big of an impact it can have on your baseball career. Especially for the recruiting process nowadays, and the new scholarship rules. Work just as hard in school as some of you do at baseball. I know at times it seems impossible but you must find a way. Don’t get discouraged if you are struggling and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. That was also a huge problem of mine, I had a hard time admitting I was struggling in school because I didn’t want people to think I was dumb.

You only become dumb when you fail to seek help when you’re struggling.

That’s a great post although I’m sorry you had to learn the hard way.

Me too, but I’m kind of glad it happened now. It made me a much more mature person. Although it’s definately going to be hard to bring up my GPA to where I want it to be.

I enjoyed reading your post … it reminded me of a young man who I encouraged to play ball … and his GPA was 3.98 and his ability to play ball was as natural as could be. The only problem was his confidence while in a group needed some work.

While he was doing a summer intern job I’d drop in now and then and we’d talk … he wasn’t interested in pitching … but perhaps thrid base or even short.

After trying to “sell” the game during that summer to the guy, he showed up at a walk-on session and impressed every coach and staff member big time. I kept on bringing up his grade point average and how his superior academic prowess and level of intelligence would be a real asset to us off and on the field. I kept saying that we needed brains in addition to muscle on this club.

The final cut down came and went and the kid was elated to be on the roster. I invited him to the skipper’s office so we could both welcome a 3.98 GPA player to the club.

He arrived with directions in hand – seeing how he was never down in our neck of the woods before, and we had a short “congratulations” get together. Then as he was leaving I gave him directions out of the lockers, down the hall, up the stairwell and to the parking lot. “just take a left and follow the steam pipes”. After a few minutes he was back with a bewildered look on his face, and my boss sat up in his chair and said… “ take your other left”.

Without batting an eye the kid says …” left – right – up — down”, I gotta work on that.

After the guy closed the door and we could hear his footsteps going up the stairwell, my boss leans over to me and says with a deadpan look … “ 3.98 GPA is it?.. Tell me he knows what a baseball looks like? Please … no kidding around…. He does … right?

Lol, that’s great Coach B.

I’m a ball player with a 3.8+ GPA but I guess that’s not such great company to be in, LOL jk.

I’ll be forwarding this to my son Injun, he’s on a full ride with a State College here in Fla. I appreciate your perspective, sometimes the hard way can be such a blessing. I know you’ll be successful and my best wishes to you.

Thanks for the kind words. There’s another subject I originally wanted to touch on but never really got around to it. Partying… Doesn’t matter if you go to a school with 20,000 kids or 2000 kids. It’s still an issue, even at my school that has a student body of 1,100 you can find a party to go to every night of the week. When you’re away from home the temptations to do things you normally wouldn’t become much greater.

Luckily I didn’t really fall victim to this but I witnessed fellow freshman on my team have their academic and athletic careers destroyed from it. Now I’d be telling a bold face lie if I said I never went to a party, but I always made responsible decisions and never put myself or anyone else in harms way.

The only thing I can say about it is the decisions you make WILL effect you somehow. It might not happen in the short term, but they will come back to you. Just be smart and think about what your ultimately in school to do… Get a good education and give yourself the best opportunities to further yourself in baseball.

I vote sticky this one… i think it will really help me!!!

Yeah balancing schoolwork and everything else is tough. At my school we have study sessions that we must attend at least twice a week. If you don’t attend you get suspended for a game. So there’s a lot of motivation to go.