I remember I was 12 years old and living in Fayetteville, GA. Major League Baseball was on strike and it was so quiet around ATL without the Braves in action. We were in full swing at Kiwanis Field in Fayette County and the showdown was setting up nicely between the two undefeated teams in our 11 & 12 year old baseball league. A parent, knowing the slow sports news cyle, decided to contact local tv stations to tell them about the “big” game! 11alive decided it was worth sending a news crew to the game and capturing some little league action!
As I warmed up in the outfield prior to the game and gazed back at the bleachers…full of parents & others that wanted to not only see the game but make the evening news in Atlanta, I had big dreams of what the cameras would capture! Me spinning a no-hitter or connecting on a ball and driving it into the gap to win the game…..maybe the Braves would see me and put me on the “futures” list!!! The game started harmlessly and without anything spectacular. However, that would come to a quick end as I stepped to the dish and connected on a ground ball to deep short-stop…..I hustled down the line knowing my parents, my team, God and 11alive were watching and as I lunged to beat the throw to first I tumbled head over heels over the bag. Not exactly the “memory” I wanted to make on tv!! The sports teaser over the next fews hours was not of a young prodigy mashing a ball over the fence but rather a 12 year old bag of bones busting it over the bag! They never reported whether I was safe or out but rather just kept showing the clip of the “little-leaguer”going head over heels into the dirt! (BTW – I don’t remember if I was safe or out either….since no score-book exist from the game – I wil choose safe)
I remember laying there for a second realizing what had just happened and thinking about “WHO” was watching and thinking “Do I really want to get back up and get after it again?” We have all faced those moments haven’t we…..the moment where we stumble in a game or in life and then try to remember if we want to do it again or not. I think back to that day and wonder “if I had stayed down then and not bounced up and gotten back in the game, how much baseball I would have missed out on! A state championship at 14, 4 years of Varsity Baseball, playing three years of D-1 baseball in college (meeting my wife there) and even student coaching my senior year of college!
Falling & failing in part of life and part of the game. Make a decision in advance that no matter what happens – you are getting back up and back in! The quicker you learn to do so – the greater your shot at success will be! Winners fail that is fact – they just don’t stay there! Get up, dust off and get back in the game!