From Zero to Hero

By Jonathan Massey

 

It was my senior year in high school. I entered the year with almost no varsity experience and had to battle a returning starter, if I wanted to have substantial innings.

Through the pre-district tournaments I pitched phenomenally. I beat two of the topped ranked teams in the area, striking out 14 and walking 5 over 10 innings of work. My counterpart on the other hand struggled which led the coach naming me the Tuesday night starter.

Now I wish I could tell you that this was the end of story, that I pitched well for the rest of the year, but that’s just not how things work in the real world. My first district start I didn’t make it out of the first inning. The only thing I remember about the outing is that the last hitter I faced proceeded to hit a ball into the pipe yard that sat 15 yards behind our left field wall. And just like that my job as the Tuesday guy was over before it began.

Losing my job left me with two basic options for the rest of the season:

Option A: become frustrated with situation. Feel that I was not given my fair shake, and complain that being a senior I deserved another opportunity to pitch. Basically becoming a giant distraction to my teammates.

Option B: Accept the situation I was in. Stay ready and when opportunity arose go out and dominate.

Well being the Ranch guy that I am, I chose option B. Well my next opportunity came much, much later than I would have liked. In fact it was a game that was pretty much over by the time I entered.

We had tied for 4th place in district, which meant we had a winner take all game to decide who went to playoffs.  After the two previous pitchers failed to get out of the 3rd inning and the other team up 7-2 my coach finally put me in.  His only advice was to throw hard.  I went the final 6 2/3 innings helping us win 12-11 in 9 innings. Being at the bottom of the dog pile is one of my favorite baseball memories.

Now I know the moral of this story goes with out saying, but I’ll say it anyway.  It would have been easy for me to just pack it in after I lost my job, heck most people would understand if I did.  But if I had just packed it in then I would have never been able to step up when my team needed me the most.

So for those of y’all who are reading this that are not playing as much as you would like, keep grinding out, stay with your process.  So when you get your next opportunity, and you will get another one, you are prepared to go out dominate. 

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