Don’t Play Yourself – But Play Yourself

“Act like you’ve been there before.”

“Keep your emotions in check.”

“Never quit hustling.”

I heard these sayings over and over during my baseball playing career. From the tender age of 10, I was taught to fall in line, play hard, don’t acknowledge anyone but your teammates and coaches, don’t get too excited, don’t get too emotional, just keep your head down and play hard.

I did all of those things for most of my playing career. I was a good, solid teammate who always played team first. Which was great and all, except I ended up on the bench for three straight years in high school while several underclassmen shot above me on the depth chart.

And they were probably better than me! I’m not Willy Mays on the field. I do, however, have a lot of natural energy, and pretty quick-twitchy athletic abilities – to go along with a mile-a-minute personality.

When I let loose and played carefree my last year of highschool, I really took off. Like All-State took off – embracing who I naturally was connected all the dots for me, and I just had fun out there for really the first time. 

And what do you know, I played better than I ever have. Just like Wild Thing. Cool right?

So now that you know my personal baseball history (just ask my family, that All State mention comes up in half of our conversations), let me advocate for playing baseball to your personality. Doesn’t sound too difficult, does it? Be like Miggy.

Let’s use a scale to rate outward emotions shown – OES for short. A score of 1, for example, would be like winning $10,000 on a scratch off, slightly pumping your first, pump your gas, then hustle on home to tell your wife, pop the popcorn, and watch Moana with the fam, thinking of that sweet Hawai’i vacay to follow.

A 5? Yeah, you’d probably buy two packs of hot fries (mad lad!), trade in your car on the way home, roll up in that shiny new ride, then get smacked by your spouse. Yeah, but you rich though.

Back to baseball! Both sides get criticized for how they play. That’s bologna and a bit ignorant, honestly. If you’re a serious, intense dude, like Ian Kinsler, and play a respectful brand of baseball, that’s dope! I tried it, not my cup of tea, but more power to you.

OES Meter – 1.5/5

If you’re more like Jose Bautista, and “flip” out over your 420 foot bombs, I feel that. Own those homers! Get loud and celebrate – that’s who you are! Why would you change your actions on how you play a game?

OES Meter – 5/5

*I probably sat around 3.5-4 OES for my final year, because I know you were dying to know*

You don’t get people all riled up over yelling “GIMME ALL THE MONEY” when somebody lands on your four story building in Monopoly. Yet we celebrate homers and get huffy puffy? Or we don’t and still get mad?

Be Kinsler, or Bautista. Let your personality shine on the diamond, and don’t be a dick about it. Goose and Yadi – hating on people because, well, they aren’t you? That’s sorta wack.

Don’t be wack.

(Featured photo shot by April Curry)

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2 Replies to “Don’t Play Yourself – But Play Yourself”

  1. Awww….
    Those were the years, right? You (and a few more bench warmers) were awesome players! Don’t discredit yourself. It’s just too bad that your coach refused to acknowledge it.
    But like we have always told you guys, life is not about the athletics. Baseball rarely takes anyone beyond high school. The big fish in the little pond always drown in the ocean. So while your favorites on the field struggled with college, you excelled! And that, is what we are most proud of you for! You had fun with it and that’s all that counts! After all, life is just a game. Why not have fun?
    Thanks for the photo cred!

    1. Thanks for the wonderful comment! We may not have played a lot but sure had fun whether we did or not! Loved you awesome parents also – still thankful for all you did.

      And thank you for the awesome photo!

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