What is your goal in life? Everyone has a different answer. Some just want to be happy, others want to be “successful,” and few want to be remembered. When you are a child you think anything is possible, whether it’s being an astronaut or a professional athlete; you even think fame is possible. For the longest time, I thought I was going to play for the Red Sox. Eventually, reality hit, and I realized how difficult it would be. Rather than continue to play with my original enthusiasm, I gave up, while continuing to play. This eventually translated to everything I did. I accepted I was never going to get into a great school or be the best at anything, and I was okay with it. To me, there was nothing wrong with being average. At fourteen, I heard that the new baseball coach I’d be playing for was a real jerk. Throughout the year, he was extremely hard on us, and I couldn’t help but think he was taking it all way too seriously. At times, I really hated him, as did most of the team. He would rant about working on our own, taking at least 100 swings a day. He would relate everything he was teaching us in baseball to life. I thought he was a nut, but then, I realized he was right. One thing he said that really stood out was “Everyone thinks there’s always going to be someone better than you, so what’s the point in trying. But why not be that someone? Be the person who puts in that extra time to get better at whatever it is that you do. Someone will always be more naturally talented than you, but that doesn’t mean you can’t work on your skill to pass them. It all comes down to whoever wants it more.” The following year was my first year of high school and a whole different game when it came to how hard you have to work in school and sports. Everyone admired the senior athletes, including myself. I thought about everything my old coach had said about working when no one else did and I honestly started to. Come baseball season, I tried to stick with the best kids on the team to improve myself and it actually worked because I was one of the only two freshmen who made the varsity team. While I wasn’t as good as the seniors, it provided me with the perfect opportunity to grow. Knowing my coaches believed in me gave me so much motivation to improve. In America, diversity isn’t limited to culture, religion, the foods you eat, where you live, or what you look like: It can also be your mindset. Although I really appreciate what I have and I enjoy life for what it is, I will always maintain that extra motivation to get what I want and work for it, thanks to a “crazy” Little League coach who seemingly took everything too seriously. It’s important in life to ask yourself what you really want, and whatever it might be, to put in that extra work when no one else does.
© Scott Gutro. 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.