Thursday, April 14, 2011

One Last Go 'Round

(Note: The following is a post by Michael Hendren, one of the students in the Sports Information Services class that I'm teaching for the first time this semester and a member of the Mount Vernon Nazarene University baseball team. The class recently had their second blog writing assignment and this is what he sent to me. I think it shows why I enjoy working in college athletics and specifically at MVNU. Let me know what you think.)

You spend your entire life playing a sport that you love and everything boils down to you having one more shot to make the most of it. Senior year of college comes and you are staring down the barrel of life after school and most importantly life after baseball. The thought is almost sickening to think that after all the time and effort spent devoting yourself to being a better baseball player, it all is coming to an end sooner than you know.

Just as important and if not more important than the time of practice and the hundreds to thousands of games you play over the span of your life in this sport, is the relationships you build with the people you spend every waking moment with when you play the great sport of baseball. For me, coming to Mount Vernon Nazarene University to continue my baseball career was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Not only is the tradition of winning strong, but the teammates you have year in and year out are the types of friends and companions you can only dream about. One can only imagine the amounts of fun we all have together when you put 30 guys around each other day after day. Coach has always said that it is not the games you will remember from these days, but it is the people sitting around you that you will remember until the day you die. I have to agree with him!

Everyone always says that all good things have to come to an end which I do tend to agree with, but I also have to say that as excited as I am to move on into the next stage of my life, MVNU baseball and the teammates I have gained over the years will continue to have a huge impact on who I am as a person. The lessons we have all learned from the game of baseball are incredible! From one situation to the next, Coach Keith Veale has made us all better and smarter baseball players. However, the main thing we have learned while playing here is dealing and coping with failure. I know that sounds awful, kind of like we lose every game we play which is not true at all, but the game of baseball is set up for the players to fail. The best hitters in the game only hit .300, which means they fail seven out of ten times. Learning to deal with failure is something that will continue on after school and baseball is over. You hear people say to always pick yourself back up if you get knocked down and after playing baseball for so many years, the emphasis on a cliché like that is much more important now than ever before. The life lessons I have learned are so important to me that I will apply those to my life even after I am gone from MVNU.

The title of this blog is somewhat interesting to me. Right before my senior season started this year, my dad looked at me and all he said was, “One more go ‘round, bud, make the best of it.” That is something that has been playing through my head for months now as the season has continued. Although it is sad that this is my last season, I have to look forward to what is ahead of me. God has worked in my life more this year than ever before as I have turned to Him for guidance and have wanted His will to be done for me in my life. God has a plan for me and I am excited to find out what it is. I have enjoyed everything He has blessed me with over the years. Whether baseball is in my future or a job, this last season has been a life-changing experience that I will hold onto forever.


Mel said...

I feel for you. I was in your shoes in 1985. Cougar Baseball can be described as quality, winning, memory-making, and life-changing. I still see players after these 25 years have passed. It's like we just left each other. The memories from spring trips, road trips, home games, etc. are fresh and fun to recall with each other. Coach Veale, a quality Christian man, is right when he tells you the players will be what you remember. Good to hear God is more real to you now than ever. Keep Him first and life will make sense. Trust this old man who was right where you are in life today.
Mel Severns

Anonymous said...

Best of luck to you and your team this year. I enjoyed reading your blog. I had the opportunity to play a year at a big time NCAA d-1 school. I ended up transfering to a NAIA school in IL where I too ended up playing and meeting some life long friends, including my wife. Despite all the "perks" of playing d-1 baseball, bats, shoes, gloves, flying to road games, etc. I never really felt comfortable. From the moment of the first practice and time in the classroom, I felt like I was part of a family. Our small NAIA university boasts one of the highest graduation rates in the country for its student athletes. This notion of life after sports was and still is the philosophy of all coaching staff; unlike at the d-1 level where it seemed like there was more emphasis on looking good for the press and the almighty dollar. After it was all said and done, it hurt a little knowing this was the end, but at the same time it was joyful that I just completed three of the best years of my life with a group of guys that would do anything for each other. I don't miss catching bullpens at 6:00am, nor doing team defense drills 'til I am nauseated. I do miss sitting on a bus BS'ing, playing cards before/after a long road trip. I will always miss the competition of trying to pick a runner off using the secrets signs we had. Despite these things I'll miss, they will never replace the second chapter of life and that is coming home with my children running up to me, screaming "Daddy" and giving me a hug. This too was something my coach said to me in college, "Ten years from now, it won't matter if you went 4-4, won or loss, there is no greater joy than a smile of a child calling you home." Enjoy the rest of your season Michael as well as the rest of your life. If you stumble upon Ohio Dominican btw, beat them will you.