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My Defining Moment in Time - A Teenage Perspective

By Ryan C. Schultz

It was my sophomore year and I was coming off a big decision to attend a new High School. I was feeling pretty content about my decision. I was fulfilling my dream; I made the high school baseball team and was playing my favorite sport. I had worked hard to get where I was and it took a lot of practice and not much else. I stayed busy and that’s how I liked it; a practical use of my time. I never had a down moment where I was bored and didn’t know what to do because I was always playing or practicing baseball, working hard on getting better. It was a lot of fun and I had a lot of good experiences from being on the team. I had made friends with those on my team, but most of them I had been friends with because we played on the same club baseball team for years.

Throughout the baseball season I noticed that I was starting to act different from the way I wanted to be acting. I knew that the baseball team was having a bad influence on me, but I didn’t really care because I liked everyone and got along with them. I had learned to just tune out the bad stuff that was said and get on with focusing on what I needed to do. When the season came to an end I was proud of myself for making the team and it was the best experience I had ever had. Later that year I decided I would continue to play baseball and tryout again for the team next year. I spent the off season playing summer ball and attending different baseball camps so I didn’t get rusty.

Now, it was my junior year and I was ready for another season of baseball. So, it started off the same as last year. In January I started going to open gyms every day after school to work on and practice my baseball skills. Tryouts were at the end of February and I was ready. The day of tryouts arrived and I was excited, I wasn’t nervous like most people would think because I knew I could do everything and was good enough to make the team. Three days later tryouts are over and the coach tells us he will post the names of those who made it on the baseball blog. The names would all be posted by eight o’clock that night. I left the field feeling really good about my chances, but little did I know what was going to happen and how it would change everything about me.

I was at home and I had just finished eating dinner with my family. I was waiting patiently for eight o’clock to roll by so I could go and check the team blog. I turned on the television so that I wouldn’t start pacing around the house. For some reason I had to run up to my room to get something, and I realized that the coach had called and left a message on my cell for me to call him. I had no clue what he wanted or why he wanted me to call but I did anyways. When I called, he picked up. We each said hello, and then he said, “Well I’m sorry to say that you didn’t make the team this year”

He mentioned that I wasn’t quite good enough at hitting for him to feel good about putting me on the team. He said that in fifteen years of coaching that he had never done this before; calling to tell someone that they weren’t on a team. He said that I deserved more than just my name not appearing on some list. I was speechless! I could barely unscramble my thoughts enough to say okay. He went on to say that he knew I was by far the smartest person on the team and that I knew the game of baseball better than anyone. He also complimented me on how good of an outfielder I was, and how hard of a worker I was. I just wasn’t hitting the ball far enough to be able to make the team. I said, “Okay thanks for letting me know” and I said goodbye.

With the wind blowing through my open window, I sat in my room thinking, “What could I possibly have done wrong?” It took me a few months to get over the fact that I wasn’t playing baseball. Baseball was my life. When I would walk around and see anything that had to do with baseball it would make me livid. I knew that I was good enough to be on the team and that’s what made me so mad.

Since I wasn’t playing baseball, I had a lot of time on my hands after school and I didn’t know what to do with it all. After a while I decided to focus on my school work and make sure I got everything done on time. When I was playing baseball I never had time to do homework so it was usually late. I started to look at the positives of not playing baseball instead of dwelling on the fact that I wasn’t playing. This is the point where I started to change.

Once I got over the initial anger I started to think more clearly. I started to understand that my life wasn’t over and I could have just as much fun without baseball as I did with it. I started to become more social, talking to more people in my classes and making new friends. The friendships were different than the ones I had while I was on the baseball team. It seemed to me that they were being more of a positive influence on me. I was becoming a nicer person and was creating a lot of good friendships that will last a long time.

Since I didn’t play high school baseball I played on a city team. It was one of the most fun baseball seasons I have ever played. There was no pressure; everyone went out to have a good time. Overall, I look back on this whole situation and think that it was a good thing that I didn’t make the baseball team. It was one of those defining moments in time that actually made me a better person, even though it was painful to go through. I’m still frustrated with myself for not making the team, but I know that I gave it my all and worked my hardest. That is all you can do in life and then just hope for the best.

I have recently finished the first semester of my freshman year at a major University. As I look back on my High School experience, I am grateful for the lessons learned of hard work, determination, discipline and the ability to manage disappointment. It’s these experiences that have contributed to my ability to get straight A’s my first semester!


Unknown said…
Congratulations !! I am happy for your ability to discern and make adjustments while persevering. I love that you can actually reflect with gratitude over an incident that took the the rug from under your feet. God bless you.
Thank you Nicoleta for your comment. This article was written by my son and I'll make sure he sees your comment!
RunRanFam said…
You are an insightful young man. My two sons both played baseball through high school, one on a community team, the other on the high school team. My second son was planning to play at the community college he attends. He made the decision not to a few weeks in. It was a big decision for him. As a parent, it is a joy to see young men coming into their own with such thoughtfulness. Nice work writing that story about your experience. Thanks for sharing it. There is a short post on my blog about my son's decision at:
Thank you for your comment Angie. Much appreciated. I'll make sure my son see's your comment.

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