It’s the oldest phrase in the game… “If he stays healthy.” You hear it throughout someones career. If you’re a baseball fan, and if you’re reading this I suppose you are, then you know injuries are no joke. They can prohibit a player from ever reaching his potential. Heck not even talking baseball related just generally speaking in the athletic community. This is a popular subject for me currently. If you follow my journey you know that just a few days ago I had to come out of a game due to an excruciating pain under my armpit (lat muscle). This will have been my 2nd serious baseball related injury in my entire life. First one being in spring of 2016 when I had to get surgery to remove bone spurs in my elbow. Third major injury if you include getting hit in the face with a comebacker in May of 2017.
If you were to sit and have a conversation with me 3 years ago today I would have bragged about how i’ve been blessed with great health. Besides the common cold I’d, up until that 2016 surgery, managed to only miss one game I was scheduled to pitch in my entire career. Pretty impressive understanding our workload during the season. Now talking to me today.. having just experienced my 3rd major injury.. I would tell you that I just don’t know. It’s funny as I write this I’m thinking to myself like holy heck.. how many times in my life have I actually stated “I don’t know”. If you know me fairly well then you know that I usually have an answer for everything. Now just to be clear I never stated that my answers are right or wrong.. just usually have answers lol.
Now it’s an interesting dynamic when discussing injuries in sports. On one side you have the injuries that occur because the athlete doesn’t prepare ones body accordingly.. typically you can see those injuries coming unless the athlete is a genetic freak and does a few arm circles to warm up then throws 100.. don’t laugh.. i’ve seent it!
Another type of injury is the “freak accident.” Something that happens during the competition where your body got put into a position that it wasn’t made to be in and responded by breaking. These are the injuries that are just out of your control. Call it bad luck if you believe in luck.
On the other side you have the athletes who absolutely put in the work to prepare their bodies for the workloads that we put em through and still get injured. These types of athletes are addicted to the process. They love the feeling of controlling everything that they can to make sure they feel great everyday and stay on the field. This is something that you have to be intentional about. Yes, if you’re young you can get away with recovering by eating McDonalds and doing some static stretching.. but it will catch up to you eventually (unless your the genetic freak – see above).
So what? Is it chance? Is it predetermined? Is it work ethic? Everything that happens in this life was already meant to happen? I don’t know…
Every person is different within their belief system. Believe whichever way you want. I will always believe in things happening for bigger purposes. If you’re familiar with my characteristics you now that I am a man of faith. My belief system is in God.
Does this make the experience of getting injured any less sucky? Yeah. Why? Well for one, I know that there is a purpose. Things don’t just happen at random.. Why do I believe that? After my first elbow surgery.. after finally putting together a good year in 2015, getting to go to the AZ Fall League, signing a free agent contract, and getting invited to Major League Spring Training, I was introduced to just a glimpse of the Grand Plan. Yes, the situation sucked.. I missed 5 months and my first Major League Spring Training. But what I did GET to do was grow in my relationship with God. I was able to spend a majority of my rehab with a brother in Christ who helped me grow in my spiritual journey. #EverythingHappensForAReason
Now you might be sitting here reading this not really interested in the spiritual walk that i’ve had.. and thats fine. But I will encourage you to find something in your life that you can always look to for stability. Something that won’t waiver but hold strong. Something that even through your darkest moments that you can go to for a sense of hope, peace, security.
Did I do something wrong? Am I being punished? Why did this happen? I don’t know.. But what I do know is that I can look in the mirror at the end of the day and be at peace. Why? Because I know that i’ve worked harder and smarter than anyone in preparing my body through nutrition, fitness, mobility, etc. I know that I didn’t cheat the system, I know I controlled exactly the things I could control. I worked hard everyday not because I had to but because I love to!
Now I don’t know what happens next in this journey.. only God knows that. I do know for certain a few things.. I know that no matter what I have a rock in Jesus Christ who is the same yesterday as he is today and tomorrow. I also know that whichever obstacle is next I will attack with a work ethic like no other and a smile.. knowing that I am right where The Creator of the Universe wants me.
1 Samuel 17:45 – “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel”