"Be You"

Organic has value

Who doesn't love when they get a chance to be themselves?  Yet it's one of the most difficult concepts for most to act upon. Our society has a way of telling us how we should act in order for others to like us.  Unfortunately, being organic, you in true form comes with a risk. A risk of being denied, not accepted, but allowing yourself to be vulnerable can open new doors and opportunities.

Get outside your comfort zone

I am grateful for the foundation of my life, which for me was public housing.  I must say I was more fortunate than others I grew up with. During my childhood, I was exposed to another world at a crucial time in my life.  This was the timeframe when I was bullied badly and it was then, luckily that a new friend came into my life.  There was a kid named Seth Farrelly on my little league team, someone who was encouraging to all of his teammates. Seth is the grandson of a former Virgin Islands Governor Alexander A. Farrelly and someone I befriended during little league. We both supported each other in different ways. I would sleep over at his house from time to time, we would zip line, competitively play video games, and his mother would make the best homemade cheese pizza I have ever had, she even topped them off with fresh hand-picked basil.  His family welcomed me in with open arms and loved me even when they didn't have to.  Early on, they taught me that support can come from outside of your world and gave me hope that I wouldn't have to play this game of life alone. This is important for young kids to truly grasp, blessingsrarely come in the form we expect.

Importance of being you

In 2003, while hitting at my former hitting instructor's facility in Acworth, GA, a young 8-year-old boy named Zach Deboy was getting a hitting lesson with CJ Stewart. I was in the far batting cage working on some drills with my usual very intense focus. I felt someone watching me and when I turned to look, I see this country looking white guy staring at me intently. I took a break and we engaged in small talk about where I was currently playing, what team I was playing for and continued assuring me about how he sees untapped potential in me.  My instinct told me this man was genuine and simply wanted to wish me the best.  Then I do what I do best, I talked to him like we had been friends for 20 years. He later gave me his business card and told me if I needed any help, to give him a call.  Roger Deboy and CJ became good friends, so naturally I became friends with Roger as well.  In 2004, I was in need of an off-season job. I mentioned something briefly to Roger and before I knew it, he landed me a job as a laborer at one of his job sites.  It was the best two years of my life working in construction. I learned how to drive bobcats, operate small lifts and put my time in sweeping a lot of floors. During this time, I was in need of a place to live close by to where I trained. I later took up residence in a warehouse next to the job site.  That warehouse had a tiny little office that looked built for a little elf, so it was perfect for me.  It was also located directly across from CJ's batting cages.  This is where I spent my time hitting when I couldn't sleep in the warehouse, I swear that place had ghosts!!  At 3 am in the morning I would be hitting balls off an iron mike machine or a batting tee always reminding myself, one day I will play in the Major Leagues.  In 2005, Roger invited me to live with his family and I quickly took up his offer.  I spent 4 years living with Pam, Roger, and Zach and it was an amazing four years.  When I reflect back on the most inspirational periods of my life and how they all began, they all stem back to allowing myself to be vulnerable and not running from fear. I chose to be vulnerable, and I got help! 

Trust is a must

My understanding about trust has expanded due to many years playing baseball, so this understanding has evolved, but it's absolutely necessary to live your true potential.  In order for any of us to be really good at something, we have to completely believe in what we are doing.  In baseball if you believe, you tend to achieve.  As an 18-year-old sophomore in college when I first started dating Amanda, who later became my wife, it was difficult to be myself. We are taught our whole lives to change who we are so others will like us. I didn't know what impressed her, so initially I put on a facade.  Thankfully, I quickly realized that what she valued was who I was in my natural form.  She enjoyed my energetic personality, my true love for life, my creative mind, and in the end I won.  Now we have two beautiful kids, a loving marriage, and we continue to grow daily!  This is a very important concept for young kids, young adults, and even adults to understand.  We perform best when we are true to ourselves.  Let's have a moment of reflection, think about your first day of school, first game, first business deal or first kiss.  Were you nervous?  I am sure you were initially but what happened when you relaxed and trusted yourself?  I bet you made it out alive; so be you!!!!