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See Where You Rank in Virginia

  1. I was reading the thread about the legless pitcher who was cut, and it got me thinking back about my days as a ball player. I had played baseball starting at the age of 5 and every year thereafter. I had always been a pretty good baseball player, and growing up my dream was to become a MLB player. I grew up idolizing Mark McGwire, and shaped my game much like him (solid fielder, great power) and despite me having the same speed as McGwire, I was a smart baserunner and very rarely got thrown out when stealing bases. At the age of 15, my freshman coach had asked me to join his semi-pro club just to get exposure. I don't remember all of the details, but I believe I had to be 18+ to play so basically I would've just been practicing with the team and getting used to playing with a better calibre of talent.

    This is where I made my biggest mistake. I told him "no thank you". I did this because I was too scared to fail. I often look back at how things could've developed had I taken him up on his offer and actually played. Instead, out of fear I passed on this and kept playing high school ball/Little League (LOL). As my junior year rolls along, I have put on some weight but am still in good enough shape to play ball. I had what I felt was a good tryout, but I missed a day of tryouts due to an illness. I was hitting the ball better than anyone else and felt that I was going to fit into the cleanup spot with ease as that had pretty much been my home in the first two years. To my surprise, I was cut from the team. I, along with most of the other players, was completely blown away. They told me that the day I missed due to illness, along with my lack of speed, was the reason I wouldn't be playing for the team. I was heartbroken. I respected their decision to go with a "speed lineup", but honestly couldn't see how they expected to have runs driven in with no real power threats in the lineup. The team ended up having a terrible season, which sadly made me feel somewhat happy since they had decided to leave me off of the team.

    Now here comes the failure. In my senior year, the players again asked me to try out saying that there was no way I could get cut again. Since it was the same coaching staff as last season, I decided to decline just out of stubbornness. I didn't play any ball that season, but still had my dream of being a MLB player. Fast forward to college, and again I'm put in a position to go out for college ball. Much like the semi-pro situation, I decide I don't want to try out because I'm too scared that I will fail. Idiotic....I know. Fast forward 3 years and I'm now transferring to a State School. With my dream still in the back of my head, I begin to realize that I will never become a professional baseball player because I never put myself into a position to succeed. I had been so scared of failing, that I ended up having that become a self-fulfilling prophecy. At this point, I decide that it's my last year in college and that I'm going to try out.

    I begin running to get back into playing shape. I lift weights with a buddy, but still at this point I'm 22 and all of my baseball playing buddies are long gone doing other stuff. I end up getting my g/f (at the time) to play catch with me. Of course this doesn't really help, because I can't really throw the ball hard knowing that I'll hurt her. So I'm basically working on my fielding, footwork, etc. I'm playing with equipment that's probably about 8 years old at this point. One of my cleats is missing a part of the cleat (they were those ones you could screw in), but I don't let it stop me.

    It finally comes to my first day of school. Wanting to be proactive, I go to the athletic department to see when tryouts are. OMFG, the tryouts are in 3 hours! I had no idea that tryouts would be on the first day of school, so all I had was my baseball bag (always kept it in my car), but no clothes. I end up going to Big 5 to buy a cup, pants, shirt, socks, etc so that I can at least wear athletic apparel to my tryout. The time for tryouts rolls around, and I'm at the field with a bunch of guys talking about how they've been playing baseball year- around (this wasn't available in my town) and I'm just thinking about how I was playing catch with a girl to prep myself for the big tryout. At this moment, I knew I was a disaster just waiting to happen. Long toss goes fine, and then begins the sprints. Despite getting into what I thought was decent playing shape, I was the 2nd slowest guy at the tryout. Next, we begin to do fielding drills. The coach has everybody line up at SS to field grounders and throw to 1st base. FUUUUUUUUCK, I've never played SS! I had never made that throw in my life. I've always played 1st and 3rd, so I felt like I was on a new planet. The first ball gets hit to me and goes right through my legs. The next ball I field fine and throw the ball a good 10 feet over the first baseman's head. "Welp, this can't get any worse." I thought to myself. The next ball I field perfectly again, but this time sail it a good 15 feet over the 1B's head.

    The next part of tryouts was the hitting. I begin to warm up with my 8 year old bat, watching guys taking out their latest technology in bats and at this point I even wonder if there's a point for me to go up and hit. I already knew that I failed hard and there was zero chance at me making the team, but god damnit this was my dream and if it was going to die I was going to see it through until the very end and make sure I put that dagger all the way through the heart of my dream. I step up to the plate, and miss my first 3 BP fastballs. I was so far ahead of the balls it was hilarious. For some reason, I expected him to throw the ball harder so the lack of speed was killing me. I finally started hitting, but after missing 3 BP fastballs there was little I could do to make a good impression. I hit line drives all over the field, but no HR's. Only one made it to the warning track. I left the plate and went back to the dugout where I watched the other guys hit. I couldn't do anything but sit there and smile. I'm sure every other guy was wondering WTF I was doing there, looking like somebody playing for the first time in his life, but I was extremely proud at the fact that I finally grew the balls to step out of my comfort zone and actually put myself out there.

    Naturally, I didn't make the team. In fact, if there was a way I could've been banned from future tryouts I'm sure I would've made that list. I even had the audacity to walk to the locker room to see if my name was written on the short list of walk-ons that actually made the team.

    I couldn't have failed any harder, but at the same time I was proud that I finally took the leap (5 years too late). Let this just be a lesson for those of you who may find themselves in a position like mine in the future. JUST GO FOR IT! If you never try, you never win. If you're too scared to fail, doing nothing is the exact same thing as failing in the first place.

    If anybody has any similar stories, I'd love to hear them. Effectively killing my dream gave me the peace in never having to wonder "what could have been..."
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  2. oh for me it was not going out for football freshman year
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  3. My story is more of a what could have been. Growing up, I played little league probably from age 7 to 13, then again for a couple years in High School. When I was young, it was basically me and my brother (Mike) running the show (1 year younger then me). We would embarrass teams, doing things like turning an infield single into a "home run" since everyone else was so bad they couldn't throw the ball accurate, or were just to nervous to get it off in time to get us out at the next base. This was obv when we were young, around 10. He would bat 3rd, I would bat 4th, and we do this basically every game. Other coaches hated us, but we didn't care, we though it was hilarious how bad everyone else was.

    Around age 12, there was all stars championships out of little league, my ego had gone down a bit, but not by much. I don't remember a thing from the season that year, other then trying out with Mike for all stars. He was to young to make the higher team, but I was young enough to make the younger team, there was two teams trying out in one set of tryouts, if that makes sense. I own tryouts, obviously by this time I'm no longer the best on the field, but I'm still damn good. I find out me and Mike both make the lower team, and it pisses me off. I'm good enough to make the AAA team I think they called it, and I let coach know. Well he agreed, he just thought we both would want to play on the same team together. Anyways he puts me on the AAA team, and off we go to provincials. Its about this time I learn I'm basically horrible compared to some of these guys, while I could strike out anyone in little league, I only got to throw maybe 3 innings in all of AAA. I am the type that relies way to much on natural ability, and never on working hard, and there is no way I'm going to change at 12 years old. Anyways, we kick the shit out of the other provincial teams, and off to regionals in lovely Saskatchewan! I realize I am even worse, some of these kids throw some nasty stuff, and while I can hit the ball, I can't hit it well. We get second in Consolation ladder, which I'm stoked about. We all had a ton of fun, but it really dawned on me that maybe baseball wasn't for me. I hate losing, so even though its a pretty huge accomplishment to make it to fucking regionals at age 12, my dumbass doesn't see it like this. I might have played one more year or not after, but anyways I decided that soccer was a better choice. Played for one year, the game sucked balls, and I played 2 years of lacrosse, which I was absolutely terrible at.

    So around this time, I decide baseball is the right choice for me, I mean I haven't played for like 3 or 4 years, but I should still be better then most others... WRONG. Sure I could have spanked some 12 year olds at this time, but 16 year olds that I had spanked when I was 12, were now spanking me. It was embarrassing, but I stuck with it, because I still thought I could get back to my old form. It never came back, and the only thing I enjoyed was pitching. I would work on it every day, I'd get home from school and just whip balls at the fence for hours. I just was to far behind everyone else, and I missed out on some important developmental years. I quit after my second year, another thing I regret to this day.

    Anyways, the moral of this story... A kid with nowhere near the natural skill of Mike or myself got drafted in the 6th round in last year's draft. I 100% KNOW that if I stuck with baseball, and worked my ass off from day one, that could have been me. I wouldn't even care if I never played a pro game, being drafted would be amazing. My brother moved from baseball to softball around the same time I left baseball, so I'm sure he feels the same way as I do.
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  4. We played Dallas baptist which was an NAIA powerhouse at the time. I saw the difference and went out on top.
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  5.  
    Originally Posted by cizastro View Post

    Mark McGwire, and shaped my game much like him ..."

    I got to here, lol'd, realized it was a long story, no cliff notes

    Therefore Fail
    Edited By: whatsup Feb 16th, 2011 at 12:39 AM
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  7. wow I laughed hard at the OP... thank you for that. I especially like the fact that you went to look at the list to see if you made it. You were the baseball version of Happy Gilmore's hockey dream for a day. Good read.
     
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  8. 'Don't let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game'

    It's an epic quote. Seems like you could never have made it as a professional athlete anyway sorry, anyone who throws away numerous opportunities to attempt their dream never had what it took in the first place.

    Edit: FTR i am the same as the OP, played soccer for NZ age group at age 13 but didn't try out for NZ team after that cos I hated all my faggy team mates, I was easily one of the most naturally talented strikers in NZ and a few guys I started ahead of in that NZ team now play in english premier league/NZ world cup squad...Still played for my province age group team but quit when I went to University(uni sports over here are nothing like you guys in USA), wish I'd stuck with it and am going to get back into soccer this winter but too fat now!
    Edited By: poumi554 Feb 16th, 2011 at 01:01 AM
    Reason: to tell my story too
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  9. This reminds me of how I failed in my dream to become a banker. I got so distressed that I called my buddy to come console me. He got a speeding ticket on the way there.


    Btw I liked the title of the OP
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  10. did you take care of the ticket for him once you became po-po?
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  11. Great story OP!

    I tried out for club soccer team when I was around 12 only because 2 of my friends were on it and I played pretty well. I was all excited I dribbled right past the best player on their team and scored. The rest of the tryouts went great for me and people were congratulating me saying I was definitely making the team and they were only taking two players. Well, I didn't make the team and was so bummed. Turns out they wanted a defensive player (which I was not) and the other guy who made it was the kid of a lady the coach was fucking at the the time. My friend on the team mom told my mom. I guess she even called the coach and went off on him cursing and swearing calling him a douche bag. Moms are awesome. She told me the story years later when I was in college. I never knew it went down like that.
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  12. I was good at soccer. Good enough to be on the select teams during the late 80's (those teams do not exist anymore).

    I am still good at soccer. I never wanted to be a professional soccer player, so I never became one.

    Now, I am going to get my Class D soccer coaching license in May (have Class E already). I might pursue coaching past the State level someday. For now, I'm going to coach my kids teams, and help teach all those kids who come out to learn and play the game I love. All the people who are now teaching the coaching classes are the people who taught me the game starting 30 years ago, which is amazingly cool. Nothing like showing up to get your coaching license and seeing your high school coach teaching it, and one of your club coaches assisting it teaching it.

    If I live long enough and am successful enough at coaching, I will not hesitate to pursue it as far as it will take me.
    Edited By: jesterwords Feb 16th, 2011 at 01:18 AM
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  13. I guarantee if you were somewhat capable for playing on your HS team you would not have got cut just because you were sick for one day. I have never heard of 15 year old playing semi pro ball. Semi Pro ball is for kids after college still trying to live the dream. The highest form of ball for High Schoolers is Connie Mack. The Connie Mack World Series held in Farmington, NM in August every year, is the top competition filled with teams from all regions and Puerto Rico. I really don't understand the OP talking about playing Semi-Pro ball to gain exposure at age 15. You play club ball in the summer and travel around to the top national tournaments to gain exposure. Sorry to sound like a dick in this post, but all aspects of the story seem distorted and silly.
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  14.  
    Originally Posted by Southpaw16 View Post

    I guarantee if you were somewhat capable for playing on your HS team you would not have got cut just because you were sick for one day. I have never heard of 15 year old playing semi pro ball. Semi Pro ball is for kids after college still trying to live the dream. The highest form of ball for High Schoolers is Connie Mack. The Connie Mack World Series held in Farmington, NM in August every year, is the top competition filled with teams from all regions and Puerto Rico. I really don't understand the OP talking about playing Semi-Pro ball to gain exposure at age 15. You play club ball in the summer and travel around to the top national tournaments to gain exposure. Sorry to sound like a dick in this post, but all aspects of the story seem distorted and silly.

    No worries, I'm just telling you as I remember it happening. This was pre-internet days (well, at least in my home), so I'm not 100% sure what the league was. All I know is that it was a group of 18+ year old players playing in a league that traveled across CA and Mexico. It may not have been semi-pro, but that's what he told me. He also told me that I wouldn't be able to play in the actual games because I wasn't old enough.

    I came from a town that didn't have winter leagues, so the only time I got to play was in the summer. There was a league that played year-around about 30 miles away, but my parents couldn't afford it and I was in no position to foot the cost.

    You don't have to believe me; it seriously won't break my heart.

    EDIT - You'll also notice that I never claimed to be a MLB capable player. While I was good, I likely would not have been good enough to reach the bigs anyway. The story was more about my extreme fear of failure and how that ultimately led to my failure.
    Edited By: ciz Feb 16th, 2011 at 03:17 AM
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  15. Don't really have my own story but it's amazing how many people have the dream to play professionally and actually think they can do it.

    I have a friend who was the best athlete in my elementary school, one of the top couple n jr high and then the best at his large HS (few thousand students I think). He wanted to be a WR but was forced to play QB because he was really the only person on campus capable. He also played DB and was lead off hitter on one of the better HS teams in the country

    Was reminded of him because he chose not to go to the same highschool I did because he was afraid of failure and didn't know how much playing time he would get on our football team. I think the opposite, he would have been placed in a better position to succeed and been seen by colleges instead of ending up at I think a d3 school.

    But I wanted to say was my school had one of the top receivers in the country who was one year younger. When he faced my friend in 11th grade he had 16 catches and could do anything he wanted. Don't remember details but certain they were never able to do anything against him on the other side of the ball either. The difference in talent and natural ability between a world class athlete and the person who has been the best athlete most places they've been is monumental.
    Edited By: Zeppelin Feb 16th, 2011 at 03:17 AM
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  16. BRAG POST ALERT!!

    Good stories. I was actually fortunate enough to dream of playing professional and actually did it. Was drafted by the San Diego Padres (also my boyhood team I rooted for) and played professional ball for 7 years. I got to workout with Tony Gwynn at old Jack Murphy Stadium, with the major league hitting coach, just the three of us. I still look back fondly on those days. I've played against guys like Jason Giambi, Raul Ibanez, Mike Sweeney among others. I have stood in the batters box and faced a 98MPH fastball. I've been the K man at a minor league game (if I punched out, everyone gets 50% beer the following inning) and hit a walk off home run to win a game. I've been a part of a team that was losing 11-2 in the 9th and we came back to win 13-11 on a walk off HR (our 2nd baseman got the win after he came in for mop up duty in the top of the 9th as we were getting crushed.) I've probably signed tens of thousands of autographs and have my own baseball cards. I got to live my dream and enjoyed every minute of it.

    I still play adult league ball today in an 18+ wood bat league. I will be 40 next year and I am 99% certain I have a better arm today than probably 80% of major league outfielders in the game today. There is such a small difference between the guys who get a shot and the guys who don't as well as the guys who make it and those who don't. It is all about opportunity and being in the right place at the right time. I miss those days.

    Good times.
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  17.  
    Originally Posted by ess286 View Post

    This reminds me of how I failed in my dream to become a banker. I got so distressed that I called my buddy to come console me. He got a speeding ticket on the way there.


    Btw I liked the title of the OP

    Was he trying to commit suicide ?????
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  18. if I had 6 more inches on me, i'd probly be in the NBA
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  19. Since I lack pretty much every attribute necessary to be a professional athlete (let alone a competitive one) all dreams of being a pro faded early for me. Basketball was the last one I really ever worked at which really just consisted of shooting around a little after school. Since I could make a stationary 15 foot jump shot with nobody guarding me I figured I had a great shot at the pros. But anyway to make a long story short I'm in 6th grade watching the 7th grade A team play this non-denominational black Christian team that somehow got into the Catholic schools league. It was a really good game for that level iirc but one player on the opposing team really stood out. He was a speedy little guard who just had a step on everyone else on both sides of the ball. As we're watching my dad points to me and says "that's the kind of kid that becomes a professional athlete." And sure enough that kid, Jeremy Maclin, is now catching passes for the Eagles.

    I like telling that story because it fascinates me how much pure natural ability plays into the equation of becoming a pro athlete. Even at 12-13 years old a casual observer like my dad could tell Jeremy had just a little something extra. That's not to say hardwork and dedication aren't a factor but sometimes I think its easy to forgot how rare and special anyone is who can consistently perform at the highest level in their sport.
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