Growing up in a small, southern Utah town made for a very unique childhood; with nothing more than one gas station and one small grocery store in the whole town, I had more than enough time to play outside.
The afternoons were spent at the kid’s house with the biggest backyard -- after all, the bigger the backyard meant the bigger the baseball field. Right there in the small, half-grass/half-weed backyard, a deep love began: a love for the game, a love that would change my views on life forever.
Back then, all I could dream of was getting old enough to play in the Little League, and then the All Stars, and the travelling teams, and finally...high school baseball!
The younger years in baseball were spent trying to find out who I was going to be. What kind of player will I be? Do I like the infield, or do I like the outfield? Can I hit the long ball, or am I better at playing small ball? Will I work hard in practice, or will I just make it through? Will baseball be something that I do just for fun, or will baseball take over my life? I spent practice after practice learning about who I was going to be, most days feeling excited for the next practice, and maybe, even a little at times, wondering if I should stick with it.
High school baseball finally came; this was the time I had been dreaming about, the time to see what I was really made of, to see how well I had prepared myself! I was anxious to see where I would fit...or if I would fit at all. All I could think of was if my hard work would pay off, or would it all be a waste?
The next thing I knew, my first high school baseball game was here. Coach posted the starting lineup on the fence for everyone to see. This was the moment of truth -- was I going to make it? The butterflies in my stomach were almost too much to handle! I had to work up the courage to go and look at the roster. I was relieved to find my name at the top of the lineup, batting lead off and playing left field.
As I jogged out to take my left field position, I couldn’t help but feel accomplished: I did it! I made it! All my hard work finally paid off! All the hours in the batting cage and the countless fly-balls, and the hundreds of baseball situations...paid off! I had found a spot. This was my position, I owned the left field, I had found a new home. I finally had achieved my young dream; my young, backyard baseball self would be very proud.