Can You Handle Adversity?

When I was growing up all I wanted to do was play baseball and why not? I was going to play professionally. There was no doubt in my mind, it wasn’t a matter of IF but WHEN.

Baseball consumed me to the point I tried convincing my dad I needed a batting cage in our back yard. I went as far as raking and clearing an area for it to go, driving stakes in the ground with string around them to show him it would fit. I even ordered the yellow, dimpled balls that fit in the pitching machine that was sure to follow.

I didn’t even play football my Freshman or Sophomore year (which was rare for any athlete in my home town) because I wanted to concentrate on baseball.

I always thought I was pretty good coming from a small town in Washington state… maybe I wasn’t.

That thought had never occurred to me until the letters from ALL of the colleges that couldn’t wait for me to play for them never showed up.

Not that they didn’t show up at all, however only 2 did. One was from the University of Washington which was cool but I have a feeling it was a favor for my good friend’s dad, the other, from Spokane Falls Community College, which at that time I had never even heard of.

Then it started to set in…

“Maybe you aren’t that good” I told myself as a 17 year old senior in High School. “I mean there is a university 30 minutes away from you, you have been to multiple baseball camps there but they haven’t said a word”.

“If you were any good they would at least have wanted to talk to you.”

…And that is where my baseball career ended.

It wasn’t until I read the book by Boston Red Sox 2nd baseman Dustin Pedroia “Born To Play” in 2010, 11 years after I graduated that I realized what went wrong.

Dustin Pedroia, standing at 5 foot 9 is not someone you’d pass on the street and say “he looks like a ball player”. Yet that is the motivation that has driven him to be a 4x All-Star, 2x World Series Champ as well as American League MVP.

After reading that book, it depressed me. For the first time in my life I had realized I had given up. It was a punch to the gut.

I could see clearly now where our mindsets had diverted. We were both told, in different ways, we weren’t good enough. Yet he used it as motivation with an “I’ll show you” attitude. While I just accepted it with an “I guess your right attitude”.

It was devastating to find out 11 years later that it was my mind, NOT my ability that kept me from pursuing this dream.

I recently came across a quote from Henry Ford. When asked if he asks his customers what they want, he said “If I asked people what they wanted, they would have asked for a faster horse”.

It is this type of mindset that I was missing. I was waiting for validation and when it didn’t come I chose to accept a false reality. I chose to quit.

If you have ever quit something you are passionate about because someone said it wasn’t any good, I encourage you to pick it back up and do it for YOU.

Trust me, you don’t want to pick up a book 11 years from now just to realize that you gave up on yourself.

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