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Baseball Men Jake Schoenberg

I’m a 14 year old kid. The only things that are more important to me than baseball are my friends and family. Any extra time I have from school I’m probably outside practicing baseball. In October of 2019, I learned that my family was going to go to Florida to have a little vacation and see my dad who had just started working down there. My dad is a physical therapist and he owns a company called Diamond Physical Therapy. He works inside a gym that works with a lot of professional baseball players. Since my dad works with MLB players every day, I obviously wanted to be able to go into work with my dad to meet some of his patients!

Being able to see the men that I’ve dreamt about being for the past 8 or so years obviously got me excited, but it also made me quite nervous. I began thinking things like, _Will they judge me? _or _I bet they will be scary, _or _I wonder if they will like me or not. _

These thoughts surprised me. Whenever I imagined meeting a major league baseball player I was always super cool. I wouldn’t be nervous in the slightest. Finally, to top it off I would impress them by pitching really well or lifting some big weights in a gym. Now, I wasn’t even sure I would be able to walk through the door without tripping or something.

Before I knew it, it was the morning that I was going to go into my dad’s work. I was practically shaking during breakfast from my nerves.  The toast I was eating tasted like cardboard! I told my dad I was too scared to go. He smiled and told me, “The guys are normal people, like you and me. They are just really good at a sport. Just relax and have fun!”

After hearing what my dad had to say, I wasn’t shaking anymore, but I was still chewing my fingers the whole car ride. After what felt like hours, I finally stepped out of the car and took a look around. The only things in sight were baseball fields and the gym building. My shoulders immediately loosened. Even though I wasn’t sure what to expect when I walked through the door, I felt better. The first thing I saw almost made my jaw drop. Instead of a bunch of scary men, there were some smiling people having a good time getting stronger!

Getting used to the environment, I stood there for a second with my mouth slightly open, letting this all sink in. I smiled, and said to my dad, “Thanks for persuading me to come here. It’s awesome; I love it here!” 

He smiled knowingly and told me. “I knew you would Jake. Go have fun pal.” With the loud music encouraging me, I walked confidently into the gym to go and get stronger. I couldn’t get started soon enough! 

While working out, I had a huge smile. Even though I knew it must have looked a little funny, it wouldn’t go away no matter how hard I tried. In this new environment I tried harder than I had ever tried before.

Once I finished, Eric Cressey, my dad’s partner and the owner showed us around the big gym. He introduced me to some major and minor leaguers along the way. Some shook my hand and said, “Hi!”, others asked me questions like, “What other sports do you play?” Each new hand I shook made me more confident. I felt like I belonged.

I think about this day all the time; all people are people. It doesn’t matter how rich or poor they are, or how famous they are. A person’s skin color doesn’t make them any less of a person. All of these differences are the beginning of America. These differences are what make America, America.

© Jake Schoenberg. All rights reserved. If you are interested in quoting this story, contact the national team through this website and we can put you in touch with the young person's teacher.