By Kevin Alan Lamb
“Why does she always start fights with me? I swear sometimes it seems like she just tries to find anything to get mad about. Why won’t my parents leave me alone? I just want to live my life how I want to. I can’t believe Mrs. Dorfman won’t stop bothering me.”
“Kevin you are capable of much more than you are showing.”
“Why do all these people try and influence my life?”
And in an instant everything leaves my mind. Not a problem in the world. I cross over the white chalk lines and step on the baseball field. I walk around the mound and gaze into the depths of center field. I take it all in and step onto the rubber, take a deep breath, and throw my first pitch. The world is perfect, as I exist in my sanctuary.
Ever since I was a child there has been one place to release all of the world’s problems. I have played baseball since I was four, and have gone through so many different stages of my life in those years. The baseball diamond will always be my second home. Every child has a dream, and mine has always been carried out each time I took the field. Since I was a child, my dream was to play in the Major Leagues.
My dad used to take me to opening day at Tiger Stadium each season. He knew how much it meant to me to see even the Tigers play on the biggest baseball field my eyes had ever set sight on. It was incredible to see these grown men playing a child’s game for a living. It was a child’s game because it is pure and beautiful; a game where heroes are made by failing 60 percent of the time. No one individual could own the game; it was far too grand for such an accomplishment.
It called for nine individuals acting as one, in honor of the name on the front of their jersey, rather than the back. It is the culmination of everything I love about the game, which creates a transcending world only found on the baseball field.
I have never worked harder for anything in my life than baseball. It is the lone thing which demands everything out of me, and nothing but excellence. My love for the game has often made me hold my heart higher than my head. In my three year high school career I pitched the most innings in West Bloomfield High School history. As a sophomore I pitched 87 innings, while the average pitcher pitched 50. By the end of that season I was pitching through the playoffs on three days rest with a hanging arm. In all honestly I probably should have told coach I couldn’t pitch. But that is not how I was made.
I was a team captain and I was a team leader. Each game there was 19 other young men looking at me to take them to victory. Each game I pitched, and won, I did it on sheer heart, passion and grit. A man reaches a point where pain becomes just another minute detail when looking at the big picture. I was chasing a dream, a dream of a state championship. A dream of proving everyone wrong, that our team couldn’t ride the right arm of a 16 year old young man to the title. I guess they were right, we fell 4-3 in the state semi-final. But when I look back on that season, I don’t have an ounce of regret. I know I left everything I had on the field, and that’s how I was written.
It is a spiritual experience for an individual to let go of themselves and allow their love to take them. I have always been a spiritual man; but have always protested going to church. My sanctuary is not one of stained glass and crucifixes; rather four pearly white bases, separated by 90 feet of red clay, with chalk lines extending nearly 320 feet to a green fence. This is the place where I am closest to God.
There is something about carrying out the gift God bestowed in me, that makes baseball holy. I have never prayed more than when on a baseball diamond. Whether it was for a clutch hit in the 9th inning or a strike out to remain perfect into the 6th; I have always had the feeling that when I am on the baseball diamond, God is listening a little more.
Baseball is what I do. I understand I am a college athlete and education comes first. That is what society and my mind reassures me of every day; but I am a man of passion, I am a dreamer: I am a man who lives and dies by his heart. Baseball is the future that I am choosing for myself. It is not a path my parents or peers set me on, but perhaps God has? Each time I walked through the gates, across the white chalk lines, and onto the raised surface that sets me above the world, I enter my sanctuary. It is the place that finally slows my mind down, clears my head, my heart, and puts me to the ultimate test. Baseball flows through my blood each instant of the day and I will not try and fight it. Life is about finding what you love, and going from there. The baseball diamond is my means for chasing a dream, a dream that will not fade.
By Kevin Alan Lamb
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