Friday, June 13, 2014


I think about pushing myself to the next level a lot. Many do.  It’s exhausting, isn't it?  But if you’re good at what you want to accomplish, you need to go for it, plain and simple.  I often equate the grind to Jorge Posada, someone I have admired for years and someone who proved the doubters wrong, because he was passionate about baseball and knew he could succeed if he applied himself.  

You need to tip your cap. It's courage. It's confidence and it's determination. 

Look at someone as recently as Masahiro Tanaka.  This guy was dominant in Japan for a while now, and now, he’s on a bigger stage, pitching for the New York Yankees, and now already 10-1. Will it stick? Well, if you ask him, he’ll tell you “Yes”, and who are you to argue? The man is in the zone. 

My oldest son has been playing baseball for several years now, and at each level, there’s a struggle. That’s normal. We’ve all seen it with our own kids and we’ve all seen the drop off.  Baseball is about skill, it’s also a game of failure.  You are literally hitting a ball with a stick… think about that for a second.

Last week, my son was hell bent on taking the summer off.   

“I need a break” he said.  Immediately I asked, “You’re not doing nothing”.  I was firm. Look, I won’t push my kids, but I also don’t see a future in video gaming and lounging around. You need a goal. I had it when I was a kid and he has it now.  I looked him in the eyes, “Look, you’re good at baseball. The struggle is evident, but that’s not when you quit, that’s when you push yourself and get over the hump.” 

I know… easier said than done. But I’ve been there, and so have you. You know what I’m talking about. 
Reluctantly, he suited up and went to his game. He was in a tired, fed-up mood, but he did the warm-ups and I sat back letting him figure it out in his head.  When they hit the dugout, he was smiling and joking around. Ultimately, he loves the game and likes the kids he plays with.  But you could tell, his hitting struggles were in the back of his mind.   

“I just can’t hit”, he told me just 2 weeks before. He's right. Lately he hadn't hit a lick. We worked together and made some tweaks. We were both secretly hoping “it took”. 

He went up to the plate and took ball one.  He got back in the box and then the next pitch was down the middle. His head came right out and swung for the fences.  That, my friends was the issue we’ve been working on! He knew it and so did I.  But I sat there silent.  He knew he did it and the next pitch his head was in and the swing and head were on the ball.  He fouled it off and recognized quickly that he re-adjusted correctly. I was happy, because I’ve been warned to “be quiet.  Ball 2. Then... Ball 3.  Suddenly, it was a full count. I learned to hate full counts and my son.  It's a terrible combination because the pitcher wins 99% of the time. I was about ready to kick the dirt... but I stood there, waiting... he stood in the box...

As the 3-2 came in, his swing was perfect and as he pulled it down the line, I could see his eyes watching it travel. As it reached the outfielder, you could see he just couldn’t get to it and it went over the outfielder passed just out of reach of his glove...  it was deep.   

My son did his best Brett Gardner rounding second now and was chugging around the bases. He was winded, and if you know anything about my son, he was nervous as well because in his mind, he didn't want to get thrown out at home! But he made the turn around 3rd anyway.

(In Photo: Not the actual event)
Here he was, coming home and jumping on the plate! He did it! His teammates jumped up and down and congratulated him on his inside the park home run.  It was priceless... and I, my friends, was a sloppy mess. But I continued my promise, I stayed silent out of respect for him.

He walked into the dug out, took off his helmet and then peaked out... he was looking for me.

“Dad. DAD!" He yelled over to me. I stood from my seat and waved! 

“I did it Dad… I HIT A HOME RUN.”

I did my best Miyagi. Standing proud knowing he could do it all along. Maybe that was the hump he needed to get over… maybe now he will play summer ball.

Lord I hope so, because one things for sure... he'll never, EVER forget that moment, he needs to ride it.

Let's hope.

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