Lifelong friends

I can’t say enough about how grateful I am to youth sports. It’s through the team, the struggle, the wins, the losses… that I created deep, long-standing friendships. I shared a social media post today with a quick video made by DC video-teammate Ryan.  This was pulled from a clinic @SouthBayPony., a Dugout Captain partner league and one that is run with a fantastic foundation of development over results.  Check it out:

VIDEO

I love my friends.  None of us still play baseball.  But that’s how we met.  And that’s where our activities centered around.  In the summer, we’d end up at the baseball field everyday.  The morning might have involved surfing, frisbee-golf, dunkball, the weight room, wiffle ball, video games, orrrrrrr… but the afternoon always ended at the baseball field.  It was home.  And it was our clubhouse.  During clinics, I love to share this story because of the two sides to the coin.  First, we were pretty good.  It always goes over well to tell strangers how good you were at baseball.  Relatively, I never even made it to pro ball.  But, as a group, our team had some really good success.  So, I start the diamond tour by listing off college scholarships by position.  “While the names have been withheld, the details in this story are true…” 🙂

  • LF – Chapman University
  • CF – Hawaii Pacific University
  • RF – USC
  • 1B – USC
  • 2B – Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
  • SS – UCLA
  • 3B – Goldenwest JC
  • P – Univ of Tennessee
  • C – USC

I’m so proud of us.  Ha.  But what a great crew.  8/9 starters played D1 baseball.  That’s nuts!  To continue, two on the list were drafted, the shortstop (ahem, yours truly)… and Pitcher.  One made it to the big leagues, the pitcher!  Along those lines, this story is a win!  We actually DID have the 1 in a million happen – which is one of our peers making it to the big leagues.  Not pro ball, the MAJOR LEAGUES.  I’m quick to point out, that although he pitched part of 5 seasons in Major League baseball… and inevitably made a bunch of money… he was never able to secure a big league contract and didn’t make “life-changing” money.  So as the video says, we are all working-stiffs.

But!

The relationships formed through this sill game of baseball go waaaaaaaay beyond college scholarships and MLB draft statuses.  This is a rundown of the impact these guys have had in my life, and how they continue to be people that I love to this day:

  • LF – Pastor in Cambridge England.  Flew over to marry my wife and I, truly a life highlight for me.  We share a phone call every year on our birthday.  That’s right, we have the same birthday.  And I absolutely love the long conversations we have every time he’s in town about love, life, and spirituality.
  • CF – Living, working, and raising a family in Hawaii.  Seem his family each fall, just worked out his team for Dugout Captain last year.  His son is coming to our high school’s camp next week and I’ll be driving him!
  • RF – Has 5 kids (so we barely see him), the oldest of which attended all my camps, clinics, and lessons.  He’s headed to TCU on a scholarship next fall, and we couldn’t be more excited for the rest of the crew!
  • 1B – We just shared a plane ride, cab ride, and hotel room for a 40th birthday trip for another friend.
  • 2B – Best man at my wedding, I’m the God Father of his first baby girl, will see him tonight for our softball game.
  • SS – UCLA.  That’s me 🙂
  • 3B – Goldenwest JC.  GREAT youth coach here at our local Pony league, plays on a different Monday night softball team, recipient of a weekly bear hug!
  • P – Another lifelong bestie, I talked to him TODAY.  He has three kids, is doing his best to coach young-kid baseball, and is instrumental in sharing the frustrations of doing so!!!  Keep in mind, this dude pitched in the big leagues for five seasons.
  • C – See him less frequently, mostly down at the beach coming out of or going into the surf.

This is a long-winded opportunity for me to brag on my friends.  More importantly, it’s an opportunity to point out how impactful the season that is concluding HAS been.  Whether you know it or not, your son/daughter has created bonds and friendships that will last a lifetime.  It might be 10 kids, it might be one kid… but there is a good chance that a classmate, buddy, co-worker, or life-long-best-friend was established under your nose.

The commitment that we make as parents to put our athletes into a team environment is so much more powerful than the scoreboard.  There’s the highs and lows to deal with that accompany the wins and losses.  There’s the adversity to overcome in battling through a slump.  There’s the problems to solve while grinding to improve.  And then there’s the friendships formed through it all!  They might last months, years, or decades… only time will tell.  But I can share from my own life:

My best friends were those that I met on a baseball field

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