By Jill E. Wolforth
This time of year with Thanksgiving just behind us and Christmas just in front of us, we often use this time to take note of all we appreciate and count our blessings. This week I’m going to put a little twist on it. Several members of the Ranch family are familiar with the story I’m going to share and have been waiting patiently to see it posted. I’m thinking the added time may have provided an opportunity for me to “cool down” a bit, but then again probably not.
With all the baseball and softball athletes that we work with, it is quite common for us to hear all kinds of stories, some good and some not so good. Most of the not so good stories center around another person “poo-pooing” the athlete, either their drills or their goals.
One example would include Trevor Bauer’s college teammates “hiding” his shoulder tube in a tree and Trevor having to first find it and then climb the tree to recover it. Another is one of Eric Binder’s college coaches telling him, “You sure as _____ aren’t ever going to throw a baseball 95mph”. It’s unfortunate, but we hear these type of stories on a fairly regular basis. Athletes and parents are often relieved to know that others have dealt with something similar and have made it through relatively unscathed.
Our son Garrett, like many young men we work with wants to be a professional baseball player, ultimately a Major League baseball player. He realizes it is going to be a challenge and has worked extremely hard and will continue to do so in pursuit of this goal.
Because Garrett has had a tremendous amount of success we occasionally have people say, “Well, you probably won’t understand, Garrett doesn’t deal with the same things our son does.” In some respects that might be true. However, when it comes to dealing with naysayers, elitist and arrogant snobs, EVERYONE faces it at some point. Garrett got his first real taste recently.
For one of his classes, students were assigned to complete a Career Project, starting with a career outline. This outline was to provide information relative to the career the students wished to pursue. It included information on prompts such as the type of degree that would need to be obtained, how long it takes to obtain that degree, what schools are best known for that degree, as well as things like why the students were interested in that career and what skills they have that suits them for that type of career.
Garrett, of course, put his as “Professional Baseball Player”, completed the rest of the outline accordingly and received the following response:
Just in case you have any problems reading it let me restate it with a bit of emphasis, “Not what I was hoping you would do for a project. Chances of this are slim. I want you to think of a career that is reachable. Don’t get me wrong – shoot for the stars! In the meantime…”
Think of a career that is reachable?!
As the Grinch said, “The audacity, the unmitigated gall!” Or as Coach Wolforth says, “Some people’s kids.”
Well, let me calm down here for a minute. I guess she’s looked at the numbers. Between the Minor Leagues and the Major Leagues, there are approximately 5200 players. If we narrow it down to just the Major Leagues then were looking at 750 players (30 teams x 25 players).
Ok, so I guess maybe it’s not reachable. He probably should have selected something more along the lines of a neurosurgeon since there are between 2800-3500 of those. I don’t know. That may still be pushing it a little too much.
Ahhhh, I got it. A more reachable career would be that of an astronaut. It’s impressive too. Those guys have a lot of stature. Oh wait, there have never been more than 150 astronauts at any given time and the most ever was 149 back in 2000.
Oh my, what else could one aspire to be. What about a politician, perhaps a U.S. Senator? Darn, there are only 100 of those and that makes a governorship out of the question when you consider there are only 50. So many things that are simply unreachable.
I guess some people just can’t help themselves. This person obviously thinks this is helpful. Thank goodness she wasn’t around when Christopher Columbus was setting out to cross the ocean, or when our Founding Fathers suggested we gain independence from Great Britain, or when we decided to send astronauts to the moon.
Is she right? Are the chances “slim”? Certainly, but we could provide a whole lot of examples of chances being slim that succeeded.
When Garrett first showed me the paper, I was furious! I was ready to march down to the school and give her a good piece of my mind and a bit of an education (pun intended). Then I settled down and thought, “This is awesome, an actual blessing and what good timing as Garrett is preparing and gearing up for his senior season, the upcoming draft and college baseball.”
It is moments such as these that we should be thankful. First, when more people think like this, we get a definite advantage; they are beat before they ever get started. And second, they give us fuel for our fire. I am framing the paper for Garrett and he will have it as a constant reminder, particularly when things get hard or for those days that he needs a little kick to get going. Then one day, here in the not so distant future, he can send back a copy with a pair of baseball tickets.