The day was November 21, 2016. Me and my mom were in Barstow, California to take my official visit to Barstow Community College to play Baseball and go to school. After the tour of the school, the assistant coach brought us to team weight training to watch, all I thought about was what would Dad think. Eight months earlier that day my dad was fighting for his life in a hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan after a freak accident which did some pretty serious damage. Four days later he died at the age of forty-eight from the infection in his brain down to his lungs. I was sixteen years old and unsure what to do. I didn’t know how to handle the rest of High school and a lifetime without my biggest fan, mentor and coach in my life.
Few months after all the crap that went on, I looked up famous athletes who grew up with a single parent in their household. Names like Jackie Robinson, Shaquille O’Neal, Lebron James, and Ray Lewis all grew up and went through the recruiting and getting drafted process without the most important role model in their life. Anything is possible.
One of my former football and baseball teammates who is now a Redshirt Freshman at Western State playing football, Jordan Karels said that he grew up with just his mom and his sister. His dad left him and his family before he was even born. In the middle of his sophomore year in high school he moved from his home in Minnesota to Boulder to live with his sister and had to leave his mom behind. I saw him in August when he came to see us play against Horizon, and I asked him what was the recruiting process like. He said it was weird especially how his sister went to all of his visits with him because his sister really didn’t understand what it was like to be an athlete in the process of getting recruited to go play a sport and go to school.
Before we flew out to Barstow, I my mom was trying to understand what it’s like to go for an official visit so she made me asked one of my friends who are currently at `Barstow CC playing baseball to ask what it is like to be a student athlete at Barstow. My friends name is Joe Kraus, he and I have a lot in common. We both play Baseball, we both have a learning disability of some kind and we are hard working student athletes. I thought he would be the perfect person to talk to about this topic of recruitment.
My mom is learning everything with me about the recruiting part because I really started the recruiting process about a month after my dad’s death. I emailed about 40 schools only 17 responded. I sent them my prospect video to all the ones that responded, only 2 responded to the video plus a lot of D3 schools offered me because of the video but i’m not interested at all in them.
One of the two schools that responded on my video happened to be on my top 5 Junior college list. The recruiting coordinator of Barstow CC name Ricky Walker called me and he and I talked for about an hour and 20 minutes. We talked about how he thought I would be a great fit to the program and talked to me about the school and everything. I felt really good if I did go there. After the phone call I thought about how would Dad feel about this school and coach? Knowing him best I think he would say dude this is freaking awesome. I was crying inside my head because I felt like really deserved to see this day more then anyone because he was the biggest help that made me the Man and student athlete I am today.
About a month later I meet coach Walker in person during thanksgiving break at the school in Barstow. I felt right at home and I knew that this was the place for me and the place where I can find a way to get drafted and go to a D1 school. I knew my dad was with me all that time and helped me make the right decision for my future. I will be attending Barstow CC in August to continue my education and my baseball career. I couldn’t have done it at all with both of my parents even if one of them is not hear.
Writer’s memo: My story is about no matter what hits you, you can still achieve your dream. I faced adversity in March with my dad’s death and it was hard to go through the recruiting process without him because I knew he would have good advice for me in the future. 8 months later I committed to a really good school for both baseball and academics(for a Juco) in a great location. After almost 9 months of hell, something great happens.