This I Believe

Jeff - Des Moines, Iowa
Entered on January 22, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

“I Believe”

I have been playing baseball since I was six. I started hitting off a tee and running the bases the wrong way. Once I learned the basics of the sport I moved to the next level. At this level we were able to pitch to the batter and this is where I found my love. I went through little league and finally I reached the high school level as a pitcher.

I played for Hoover High School and was on varsity for four years. At first I was the shy, quiet kid who always sat on the end of the bench until the coach yelled my name. I was the freshman who was a pinch runner and other than that I never really saw the field because I was so young. I started to grow and was recognized by the coaches and other players. My first time playing on the varsity level was sophomore year at Indianola where I threw a shutout and won by five. The feeling of winning was incredible, it was like nothing could stop me. As you know everyone has their moment where they’re cocky and big headed and this was my time to shine. The years went by and my playing time was set as a starter. I won games and I lost games, I loved my team and sometimes I hated them.

In baseball there is one position that gets to touch the ball every play. This position is the pitcher. You make decisions for you and the team. Your teammates and coaches depend on you and sometimes that can be a lot of pressure. For one you are hoping you have a good game and then you turn around and everyone is expecting the best and only the best out of you.

It’s now senior year and I was the leader of the team. I was no longer the shy, quiet kid. I was the loud and obnoxious senior who was yelling at the quiet kid to get off the bench and cheer on the team. I matured and got to know how to play the game very well.

At the end of the season there is always sub-state and Hoover always played Urbandale or Roosevelt. Since I was the senior pitcher my coaches decided to put me on the hill and lead the team to state. We played very well and became confident, not cocky. It came to the bottom of the seventh and the eight guys behind me started to struggle. Bases soon became loaded and the crowd was going crazy. The next batter steps to the plate, having the game tied. He worked the count to full and now he put the pressure on me. Full count, two outs, bases loaded and one game away from reaching state. I wind up and put all my might into the pitch. I let it go, and it seemed like minutes before it reached the catchers glove. I look up and the umpire calls ball four. The opposing crowd and team goes wild, I dropped to my knees, starting to cry and slapping my glove against the dirt. My teammates and coaches run to my support and say “ it’s not your fault!” With the tears in my eyes I get up and walk to the dugout. There was no one else to blame but myself. For a while it was hard. A lot of people cant accept the fact that they have failed. Baseball is my love and always will be. It is said that 50% of the time a player fails in this game and that is why I love to play. Sometime failure can be a good thing to experience.

I am now playing college ball and I am learning new skills everyday. I give that to all of the pressure situations that I have experienced throughout my career. That is why I believe that pressure isn’t always a bad thing.