I’m sorry you’re sick. I’m sorry that you’re not at school right now hanging with your bro’s, or working out with the baseball team, or going to the football game Friday night. I’m sorry that cancer has chosen to take up residence in your body, making your senior year memorable for all the wrong reasons. I’m sorry that you’re having to endure test after test, and that everything you want to do is outside that room you’re in. Devin, I’m so sorry.
But, here’s what we need you to do: Win the game. Like baseball, life is a journey that’s connected by all sorts of experiences and events. Some are good, and some, like now, are not so good. But, life is not defined by any one thing that happens, so, as hard as it may be right now, we need you to work hard and get past this. Like baseball, this is just an inning. And, you know…bad innings happen. But, as coach always says, keep your head up, get past it, and let’s score some runs.
Win the game.
You’re a pitcher, and all of us who’ve ever pitched in a baseball game know that when you have the ball on the bump, it’s you against what seems like the world. One batter after another comes to the plate, and their sole objective is to crush the pitch you throw. Sometimes, they do. But, then again, sometimes they don’t, and your pitch turns into a ground out, a fly ball, or even a swing and a miss. Put enough of those together, and you win the game.
Devin, what you’re going through right now is just part of the game. It’s an inning. Maybe just one batter. We need to you to bow up and beat this guy. Get the ball back, and throw your best stuff. Maybe even throw that knuckleball you were working on this summer. If you do get hit, we’re here behind you playing defense, helping you get the guy out. We don’t want him on base, either, so we’re going to do everything we can to help.
Just win the game.
I know it doesn’t seem like it right now, but you’ll be past all of this soon. It’s temporary. This particular inning in your life will be in the past. That’s one step closer to winning the game. And, we want you to win…oh, how we want you to win. You’re part of us all, and you’re part of all that is baseball at Oakland. When we lace up our cleats and spit in our glove and step onto that cathedral field, we do so as a family. And, we do it with one purpose – to win the game.
When Lou Gehrig gave his famous farewell speech to the fans in Yankee Stadium, he closed by saying, “…that I may have had a tough break, but I have an awful lot to live for.” Devin…you have, indeed, had a tough break. But, like Lou, you have an awful lot to live for. There are 42 players, 4 coaches, and a bunch of moms and dads that will help you get through this. You throw your best stuff. We’re behind you.
And, together, we’ll win the game.