Here on day 2 of our F*IT List celebration, we go back to my Freshman year at UCLA where I faced my opportunities and opposition HEAD ON… The title of the chapter is “GO GET IT.”
Excerpt from the F*It List
Go Get It
If you had one shot,
To seize everything you ever wanted,
Would you capture it,
Or just let it slip?”
-Eminem, Lose Yourself
When I finally got my opportunity I ran with it (pun intended). In my first at bat I crushed a ball off the right-centerfield wall and never looked back. I ended up being the starting right fielder and leadoff hitter as a freshman. Knowing that I had done the work throughout the course of my life gave me the confidence for that one moment of opportunity. With my antics the day before, I knew that moment of opportunity could be short lived, but I asked for the test because I had studied. Confidence is fueled by preparation, and I had spent my entire life preparing for that one moment.
Now, as the starting right fielder for UCLA, I felt like I had a score to settle with Stanford. The school I grew up dreaming of playing for, only to have my heart broken at the last minute. The first chance I had to play against them was at UCLA. I homered on the first pitch I saw. I ended the 3-game series 6 for 12 with 2 home runs. A few weeks later, I went home to play at Sunken Diamond in front of over 100 family members and friends. I had 9 hits in 12 at bats. My communication skills at that point in my life were still developing, but my success on the field against Stanford throughout my entire college career seemed to be my personal way of telling the Cardinal to go F*CK themselves.
To further spice things up, toward the end of the 2nd game of the 3-game series, I was on first base when there was a routine ground ball hit to the short stop. As usual, I went hard into second base trying to beat the throw. Stanford 2nd baseman, Brian Dallimore, caught the ball for the final out. Then as my back was turned and I was facing the outfield, something hit me in the helmet. Stunned, not realizing what had happened right away, I turned around and watched Dallimore sprint off the field. It actually wasn’t until the next morning at breakfast when long time big leaguer Doug DeCinces, whose son Tim was our catcher, explained exactly what had gone on. After Dallimore caught the 3rd out, he turned around and rocketed the ball from point blank range off my coconut. Apparently, he took exception to my hard slide at second base. I asked Doug what he thought I should do. He said it was very simple… “When you hit a double today, tell Dallimore that you thought guys at Stanford liked to play hard, and then ask him why he acted like a baby.” In my 3rd at bat, I hit the double and asked Dallimore exactly that… His response… “Wait till you get into the box next time…” My response… “If I get hit, I am coming for you.”
Kyle Peterson, Stanford’s highly touted freshman pitcher, was on the mound when I came up for my next at bat. The first pitch hit me square in the ass cheek. Without hesitation I charged right passed the pitcher’s mound and headed straight for Dallimore at 2nd base. I was in a full sprint approaching the cut of the infield grass when I got absolutely smoked from my right side. It felt as if I was a wide receiver going across the middle and Ronnie Lott had just blind-sided me. Vince Behringhele, our first base coach, had come from the first base coaches box to relive his Loyola High School football glory days. He then did his best WWE impersonation, pinning me to the ground until I was able to calm down. Although I never reached my destination, I have to figure there is a good chance that was the first time in baseball history that somebody charged the 2nd baseman after getting hit by a pitch.
Kyle Peterson was an influential freshman pitcher and was simply delivering a message. There was no need to waste time with him when I knew where the message was coming from.
Human Crash Test Dummy Life Lesson #25
When you get your opportunity, make sure you are prepared to take advantage of it. Put in the work. The work is what will give you the confidence to succeed. Also, too often in life we don’t address the root of the problem. Always make sure to cut through the bullsh*t and go after what, or who, really matters.
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