This post is in honor of the LLWS which would’ve been happening this week if it weren’t cancelled this year.
I still remember the specific day when I came to that realization like it was yesterday. I was playing for my 11-12 year-old All Star team, representing Poway National Little League to the best of my ability. We were in the beginning stages of a local, double elimination tournament. We were facing elimination and being sent home after already losing one game.
I remember it was late in the game when my opportunity arose. I visually recall myself stepping up to the plate with a couple of runners on base. We were down 1 or 2 runs and with myself being the youngest player on the field, I surely wasn’t expected to carry the team on my back.
I went deep into the count during the at bat.
3 balls and 2 strikes. Full count.
Everything went into slow motion and time seemed to stand still as I swung at the next pitch, located right in my wheelhouse. Low and middle-away.
With one crack of the bat I drove a ball further than I ever had before. Quite a distance over the left field fence and gave my team an opportunity to stay in tournament.
It’s crazy how specific moments and personal highlights stick out in your brain. Maybe because those moments play a role in shaping your future. Not only was I feeling excitement and appreciation during that moment, I felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. I felt as if the unexpected ‘can’ happen and that hard work and dedication pays off in the most surprising moments.
“What if I could continue to do this?” I kept thinking to myself. I continued to think about the confidence I gained from one single swing. One swing can change your whole world. I had grasped the idea that it didn’t matter how many times I failed in this game. One simple swing could put me on cloud 9. Just as it did that day.
What also contributed to my newfound thinking was that when I hit that first homerun my dad was yelling in the stands louder than I’ve ever heard him. I knew he was proud of me. I knew for a fact he was pleased because when I came across Homeplate after touching the bases he yelled out “He’s only 11 too! One more year of little league!”
That was a reminder to me that not only did hitting a homerun make me feel good, but it was an amazing feeling to get such a reaction from my father. And if you know my father, he’s definitely not one to show his emotions too often.
From that moment on all, I wanted to do was hit homeruns. I wanted to eventually hit them at the highest level one day, aka the big leagues.
So now today I tell all young athletes I come across to continue to dream, and DREAM BIG. I look at it this way, I had a dream when I was 11 years old and I gave myself 15 years to work at that dream and to keep climbing towards it.
Don’t think that you don’t have the time. Just start dreaming today and start working towards that dream. Because dreams really do come true.