Frustration of not making team inspires continued pursuit of goals

Matthew Gruber, Staff writer

Bitterness, heartache, shame and despair all accompanied me on that burdensome evening in early March.  

I sat alone on a Friday night thinking to myself, “How am I going to handle this? What can I do now? I’ve lost everything I worked for. This is what I wanted most out of this year.”

That night I was in distress and disbelief, isolated from my surroundings and contemplating what to do next.

I needed to be alone. 

It really knocked me down and I felt what it was like to be near rock bottom — at least, in a certain aspect of my life.  

Getting back into baseball, the game I love, when I was told I wasn’t good enough, seemed like trying to fight a guy with my arms tied behind my back.  

I knew in my heart that I earned the right to put on a uniform and rep my school colors. 

But I’ll never play another game as a Tiger because I’ll be attending Blue Valley Southwest, most likely for the rest of my high school days.

When it comes right down to it, I just had to man up and deal with it.

It was tough explaining to people how I didn’t make the team, or how agonizing it is seeing the guys that made the team leave class early for a game.

People say don’t dwell on the past. 

For anyone whose ever dealt with the same experience, I’m telling you, don’t forget about it.

Remember it. 

Thrive on it.

I have to use it to motivate me and to accomplish what I want to get done.  

I will move on, but I will never forget that feeling that burned inside me and hearing the words uttered from the coach that I didn’t earn a spot on the team.

“I’m sorry, but we’re going to have to let you go.”

Don’t ever let that go. Use it as fuel.

I’ll never let one person’s judgement make me turn my back on a sport that I’ve been playing since I could barely tie my cleats. 

Especially when that person may not even know the character within me.

Overcoming being cut from the team goes beyond just sports for me.

It helped teach me how to overcome adversity and will greatly benefit me with other obstacles that might come across my path as I get older. 

I’ve had my skin practically freeze in late March night games with piercing wind blowing across the diamond. 

I’ve sweated off a sufficient amount of Gatorade in triple-digit heat in mid-July.

If I cherish being on the field and feel like I belong playing at a competitive level, then why should I quit and hang up my glove and cleats?

Just like the inspirational line from the movie Never Back Down, “the outcome is on you.”  

A good friend of mine reminded me of it, and how it related to me as well. 

I can’t control the result of my tryout that I worked so hard for. 

I can control how I handle the situation.  

I can sit back and watch things pass by.

Or I can stand up and control how I take the fall.  

It’s my decision and I’m going to make the one I won’t regret when my own kids ask me about my run with high school sports. 

I know I won’t let anything or anyone get the best of me. 

Even though I’ll never suit up in black and gold again, I have tremendous opportunity ahead of me at Southwest.  

Maybe this is fate, I don’t know for sure. 

But I do know it’s my turn to step up to the plate come next March, and you can bet I’m going to make the most of it.

The legendary UCLA men’s basketball coach John Wooden said it best.

”Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.”