Bottom of the 9th, #35 – I Want to be That Player


Bottom of the 9th - I Want to be That Player

I Want to be That Player

by Mitch Weide

Valor Christian High School Senior; Pitcher/Outfielder

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.     Philippians 4:13

     I want to be that player who in the late innings can find that third out or the RBI hit for the tying or go ahead run, the guy who all of my teammates know has their back.  In my time at Valor, I have made it a goal that if I am physically able to go to school and complete a day of school, I would be at practice.  If that means that I might lose my night to practice and homework, so be it.  I’ve taught myself to look at every opportunity to train myself physically and mentally to be strong.  I look for that opportunity to step to the plate in the late innings in a close game or to make that defensive play to keep us in it. 

     I had a hitting coach tell me that he looks for the player who has gone four for four and wants a fifth at bat because he has the confidence in himself to be five for five on the day.  If you don’t want that fifth at bat, what kind of a player are you?  An old pilot saying is “Never let them see you sweat.† That makes me think of quiet confidence.  The coach from whom I’ve learned the most valuable life lessons taught me that whenever I so something great or amazing (or even just notable), to “act like you’ve been there before.† You don’t need the end zone dances or the UFC style stare downs.  In my time playing, I have noticed that it shows more character when you make a great pitch or an incredible play and you simply think to yourself, “Ain’t nothing but a thing!† When I have seen a player make a diving catch or fire a ball in from the outfield and just pop up confidently, I’m impressed by that player and his quiet confidence.  I think that playing humbly shows more character and puts more intimidation in the opponent when you make that play quietly and confidently.

     This is all represented perfectly in the story of David and Goliath.  When all of Saul’s men cowered away from fighting the talented warrior, a young, borderline naïve, boy who was at the battle field to feed his brothers, heard about Goliath and volunteered to fight.  Are you going to be that man to fight?  Will you be the player that remains steadfast when the rest hide their eyes and half-heartedly cheer you on?  Will you be able to look back upon your baseball career and know that you stepped back when your team needed a hero, thereby revoking your chance to do something heroic so that you can live in the safety of not allowing yourself the chance to fail?  Wayne Gretzky said “You miss 100% of the shots that you don’t take!† Take a shot at it, don’t cower away like the rest of Saul’s army, grab your sling, pick out some rocks and meet that opponent face to face.  That pitcher has a 5 ounce ball, you have a bat over 30 ounces plus all of your body weight to swing.  Sure, it might be one against nine when you are in the batter’s box but you have roughly 96,000 square feet to hit into and at least one pitch to try.

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