Our new series will highlight baseball and faith stories from the Valor Baseball Class of 2016. Through the months of April and May, the graduating Eagles will have the opportunity to reflect on their experiences on and off the field through Bottom of the Ninth.
Patience and Perseverance
“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trail because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12
Baseball is the only profession where you can succeed four out of ten times and still be considered a legend. The other six times are all lessons in the schoolhouse of perseverance, whether it may be learning to deal with anger/failure or disappointment, you still are learning. As a pitcher who doesn’t throw overly hard, I have experienced all of these in numerous times throughout my career. It all started when I was just a boy, my Dad once asked me if I wanted to play baseball. I decided to do so, since I wasn’t quite old enough to make decisions for myself. Deciding to play baseball was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
Let’s fast forward to August 2012, my freshman year. My life path took me to Heritage High School with the intention to play baseball; however, I was a scrawny redhead who weighed 100 pounds soaking wet, yet I still wanted to play baseball. Providentially, I happen to be a southpaw, so the head coach took notice, as he only had one other lefty pitcher in the program, and he was a senior. That spring I made the team, but didn’t play an incredible amount. This led me to believe that I may not want to continue playing the game. I prayed and prayed on the subject and God answered in the most profound way possible. One day, during a practice, I was sitting on a bucket and suddenly I had an overwhelming feeling that was clearly sent from the “upper-upper deck” telling me that I needed to continue playing baseball. I also knew that there was a purpose behind this feeling, but I was unsure of what the meaning truly was. So, as a result, I continued to play, I increased my weight and my skill level to the point that I was able to move on.
The summer going into my Sophomore year was rough. I was playing on the Heritage summer team and we were terrible. I pitched just about every game and still we would lose to teams who could simply play the game better than us in the fundamental skills. Although I was backed by a truly horrid defense, I remained strong. I didn’t allow the mistakes of my team to rub off on my performance to the best of my ability, this carried throughout the fall and into the spring. That spring I played on the Sophomore team, again we were not a very solid team. Since we were not very good, I had very few memorable instances from that year.
The summer going into my Junior year is where everything changed. I was playing for the best team I had ever been a part of at that point in my career. We were incredible, we couldn’t be stopped. At this same time I was beginning to practice with the Valor squad. However, I was with the incoming freshman, this didn’t stop me from making the team, or so I thought. That spring I tried out for the Valor Baseball team, and failed. The moment I received an email from Coach Wahl to meet the next day, I knew I was cut, this was a horrible feeling. That night, my head rushed with excuses for why I was unable to make the team, none of which were my fault. The next day I was right, I had been cut. That afternoon I finally got it through my head that being cut was 100% my fault. This failure was what made me push harder, go faster, and grow in my faith. I was not going to be cut again.
This year I made the team, and I believe the reason behind the overwhelming feeling that God set upon me to persevere through my Freshman season was that, with patience, I would eventually become part of the Valor program. I was unable to see this reason when I was at Heritage. I was unable to see this reason when I was cut. I was unable to see this reason when I temporarily quit; however, I am able to see this reason now and this reason is in the form of 21 brothers who stand as one, for one, and that one is God. While patience is a virtue, perseverance is a God-given talent that only those who are part of something as big as this, can truly and passionately experience.