Baseball provides necessary outlet, inspiration for future

epression is hard to understand if you haven’t had it, and it’s even harder to cope with. There is a stigma around depression that makes people believe depression is just like Zoloft commercials, but it isn’t. Depression feels like your inner thoughts are not yours, but the thoughts of someone that despises you. Depression isn’t a cause of “giving up” on your problems, but rather feels like a daily fight that is impossible to win.

Hobbies are my greatest coping mechanism. Anyone who has seen me flipping a baseball in the air while walking down the hallway wearing a Cubs shirt would assume that I always had my heart on baseball, however freshman year I wasn’t going to play baseball. I missed 20 days of school in my first two years, because I couldn’t bring myself to get out of bed- but I went out for baseball, and while my depression didn’t go away, baseball gave me a means to distract myself. It kept me out of the trouble that is so easy to fall into with depression. More than anything, it gave me the feeling of a purpose.

Baseball wouldn’t have became my passion without the help of others. As an underclassmen, the guidance of upperclassmen was priceless, particularly from Tucker Sweely and Cole Koerner. Both showed me the importance of hard work, and what a winning attitude is.

My current teammates remain an inspiration to me. What difficulties we have persevered through, and what successes we have had, we have been through together, as brothers. High School has been a roller coaster, and while it has been turbulent, coaches like Andy Preston, Evan Gilbert, and Colby Tessendorf have helped give me the confidence I need to succeed in baseball, and in life, and their input is invaluable.

I have been fortunate to have a coach like Mark George that aspires for every player’s success on and off the field. Coach George has the ability to know when someone needs to get the fire inside of them ignited, and when players need a calm talk to focus, a talk I have needed most. Coach George has made plenty of ballplayers into confident and responsible men.

My freshman year, Coach George said, “one day, we are all told that we have to hang up our cleats for good.” That has been the most important quote I have ever heard, and one I think about daily. In many ways, my baseball career has been a constant run from being forced to hang up my cleats, fearing what may come after I no longer have baseball. However, with the help of everyone- my coaches, teammates, girlfriend, family and my Mom- I have the opportunity to extend my baseball career in college. It is an opportunity that I will not waste. I will forever be grateful of everyone that has helped advance my career, and grateful of every day I get to wear my cleats.

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