Tuesday, May 25, 2010

That's How I Ended Up Here- Part 2

Today I want to pick up with my teenage years. As I mentioned yesterday baseball became my god. The first few years of me playing baseball I was absolutely terrible. Terrible doesn’t even describe how bad I was. But something clicked around the age 11 or 12 and it changed. Not sure how I remember some of these stats but my 12 year old year of Little League my pitching record was 6-0 and I had 91 strikeouts. Not too bad for only throwing a fastball at this point! I hit several homeruns as well. Then when I turned 13 and advanced to the next stage my pitching progressed even more. I threw a no-hitter and was clocked at 73 one game. I hate sharing this part because I figure that most people won’t believe me but at this point there was actually an Atlanta Braves scout tracking me through my coach as they were good friends. I felt that baseball was God’s plan for me and can remember my prayer life consisting mainly of asking God to allow me to be a major league pitcher. I thought that God was going to use me in this area, and can even remember someone telling me that they thought that was God’s plan for me. How awesome getting to be play baseball and be used by God at the same time!

I moved on to high school making the tough choice to attend the school I did as I was offered by another high school to come there and play and they would give me “perks” such as pay my out of county tuition and pick me up everyday until I could drive. I went to the high school I did thinking I would get more exposure. Well my freshmen year I encountered a small elbow injury that I recovered from, no big deal but it did get me thinking if it was what I was supposed to do. Then as I continued to progress as a pitcher the unthinkable happened. I injured my rotator cuff my junior year. I actually hid it a bit at first because I didn’t want it to effect my playing time so I pitched through pain. When I finally couldn’t do it anymore I had to come clean with my coaches and let them know I was hurt. After trying to take time off and doing many things to try to heal it, there was no relief. The fact was I couldn’t throw without being in pain anymore so I had to go see the orthopedic doctor. No surgery was required but about 3 months or so of rehab and then another couple of months before I would be 100% again. It wasn’t the same anymore. For my junior year baseball had become a chore and what had been easy now was painful. I entered my senior year with a dilemma: do I continue and finish up this year or go ahead and quit. I had never quit anything in my life. I had lost my love for baseball and decided I wasn’t even interested in playing in college. After great advice from my parents I decided to push through and finish my senior year out. I ended up 4-0 my senior year with 5 starts but the majority of my pitching was out of the bullpen. I actually never lost a varsity game in high school. But I remember the relief I felt when that season ended and I knew it was all over as far as baseball stood. What was I going to do now? I had an academic scholarship to Tennessee Wesleyan College which was in my hometown, but what would I study? There was much confusion at the end of highschool for me. There were two things I knew for certain. The one thing I had loved the most had been taken away from me, and probably because it had been what I loved most instead of God. The second was that I did have a new love and her name was Belinda. We had met the middle of my senior year and already knew that God had brought us together to spend our life together. Tomorrow I’ll share about college, marriage, and other tragedies that came about.

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