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Well it’s Thanksgiving time again, and while I’ve got so much I’m thankful for in 2013, it’s definitely been a year marked by lots of ups and downs. I talked about dealing with adversity in my post on 28 Ways Pitching Prepares You for Life. And one of the things you learn is that with every obstacle, every challenge, every setback, comes an opportunity to learn and grow.

“When we long for life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure.” ~ Peter Marshall


Image: Martin Smith

The summer before my freshman year in college I hurt my elbow… badly. It should have been the most exciting time in my life… I’d just gotten drafted, I had a college scholarship to my dream school… and there I was sitting in a doctor’s office listening to him tell me I might never pitch again. Scary stuff for an 18 year old kid.

For the first time in my life I wasn’t allowed to pick up a baseball. I showed up early for fall ball with the rest of the freshman recruiting class, but I did a lot of standing around and watching. It was tough. I was part of the team, but I couldn’t compete – I was there, but I wasn’t there…

And as any athlete will tell you who’s ever been hurt, when the game you love is taken from you, you learn to appreciate it more. You realize how much you love it, how much you wish you could be out there. And you find a determination inside you that you maybe didn’t even know was there.

Thankfully, I rehabbed my butt off and was able to get back on the mound late that spring. And that was definitely a rough year, make no mistake about it – I don’t wish it on anyone. But I also learned a lot that year. I learned that nothing is a given.

I learned to be grateful for every day I got to put on a uniform and throw a baseball. I learned that if you have a gift, you need to work at it and develop it. And as tough as it was having to sit out most of my freshman year, today I’m actually grateful for that experience. It’s what I need to go through at that time in my life…

[h3]Start with Gratitude[/h3]
Those in my generation (pains me to say it, but I am getting older) often lament about the sense of entitlement that seems so common among kids today. I’m not going to get into that here – I can relate to the sentiment, but I also don’t think it’s something that’s totally new. No matter where you’re at in your life, it can be real easy sometimes to forget this basic principle…
[h4]The world doesn’t owe you anything![/h4]

We live in a time where the opportunities available to each of us is greater than it has been at any time in human history. It’s an amazing thing when you stop and think about it.

Be grateful…

There’s always something to be negative about. Play long enough and you’re going to deal with some kind of adversity. You’re going to have to deal with some jerk coaches and negative people (I’ve had my share). But you can learn to be grateful for them, too. They’re an opportunity to practice patience, develop a thick skin, learn how NOT to treat people…

The key thing I’m trying to get across is this… Don’t dwell on the negative things, the things that stand in your way, hold you back. The world has enough excuse-makers as it is…

“Argue for your limitations, and sure enough they’re yours.” – Richard Bach


Think this guy made excuses?

Every day is a gift of a thousand minutes… Be Grateful!

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody! Thanks for reading.