|By Joecit (Joecit) on Tuesday, October 28, 2003 - 09:01 pm: Edit|
Hey all. I was just hoping for some feedback and constructive criticism of my essay if you feel so inclined. This is my abridged version, so comment on it in general, and let me know if u think it's missing something. If you care, it is being sent to Penn (Wharton), Harvard, Yale, Columbia, and others. Thanks.
The whoosh. The ensuing pop. The holler of a self-important 17 year-old inviting me ever so gently to return to my dugout. The scene became much too familiar, and way too miserably commonplace in my first year of Little League. I was by far the most predictable player in the league. Every at-bat was certain to yield the same result: the awful strikeout.
Enduring the entire regular season without ever experiencing the feeling of my bat hitting a ball, without ever knowing the sensation of adrenaline pumping through my veins as I rounded the bases, without even getting a single high five or congratulations was humiliating and disheartening. But it set me on fire. In spite of the suggestions to find a more suitable activity, I wanted those simple things so undescribably badly that I resolved to work for them until only death could stop me. I wanted — I needed — to prove to myself and everyone else that I, too, could do it. All that I wanted was one moment of contact.
So in the three week hiatus between the regular and summer seasons I coached myself. I used every means available to a twelve year-old self-coached boy to reach my simple but noble goal. I rode my bicycle to the local library for instructional books and "how-to" literature on the baseball swing. In a single sitting I completed Ted William's The Science of Hitting, and found myself soon thereafter browsing the Internet for more information. I registered online for baseball discussion boards and stole my mother's credit card to purchase a $25 instructional tape. I found out everything I could on the various swing theories and drills. I was probably the only Little Leaguer who came to understand rotational mechanics and the concept of torque, and why modern day physics hails it as superior to its counterpart linear mechanics. I began video-taping my favorite player's swings, reviewing them in slow motion to analyze them frame by frame. As I watched the tapes, I stood in the middle of my living room floor molding my own swing to the swings of the best in the game. I categorized swings into distinct groups, and tried to match player statistics with their swing types to note any patterns of success with a particular style. I became visibly obsessed.
I remember vividly the first contest of that anticipated summer league. As Malverne squared off against New Hyde Park, the game seemed destined to be filed away as another three strikeout performance for me. I struck out looking in my first at-bat, returning to the dugout with my chin plastered to my chest. However, my second at-bat would change the way I viewed success forever. After digging myself into a two strike hole, I mustered together everything I taught myself and every bit of determination I could find. In a moment of pure bliss my efforts culminated into one burst of sheer satisfaction, as I whipped the bat from my shoulder directly into the trajectory of the ball. Bam! I finally did it. For the first time in my life, I realized what it truly means to be rewarded by hard work and dedication. I discovered a personal definition of success.
Now, as physical limitations step in the way of personal fantasy, I realize that I can never be an All-American athlete. I was never blessed with quickness of foot, hand-eye coordination, or fast twitch muscle tissue. I was probably never "supposed" to play baseball. However, it is the curiosity and desire, the need for personal fulfillment and actualized potential, that to this day drives me to be what I can be. Without that initial urge and willingness to at least put up the best fight he can, man would never realize just what he is capable of.
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