The Greatness of Being Small

“If you come to fame not understanding who you are, it will define who you are.”
-Oprah Winfrey

I was once asked what it is like being famous. Without hesitation I replied, “It’s a big responsibility.” Now, I would argue whether I am really famous or not, but my role in baseball has put me in the spotlight. And it was the eve before I threw batting practice to the Rays that I came to one of my deepest realizations: It is not about how big we are – the beauty is in seeing how small we are.

Please let me explain. And I apologize in advance if at any point I sound like I am preaching. This blog post may have a hint of self-existential therapy :)

The evening before I threw to the Rays, I was in the hotel lobby, just finishing a Skype interview with a college class, and I came across a news article on Christina-Taylor Green. And at the end of the article, I was surprised to find a quote by me.

I felt such a sense of humility. This was a story about the Green family, about a national tragedy, and about a little girl – and I thought what am I doing in this story?

And at that moment I felt so small. And a peaceful feeling came over me. And that peace came from knowing I was part of something so much bigger than me. And I didn’t feel insignificant: I felt a sense of meaning.

I think there is an idea that the bigger we are, the more famous we are, the more we do – that is when we become significant. But from my own experience, I don’t think that’s true. To me, the significance comes from seeing how small we are and yet knowing how beautiful it is to be a part of the big.

Today I was praised by a top college official for “all my good press.”  I smiled, thanked the person, and shared, “It was very humbling.”  It is humbling to know the Green family and to honor the memory of Christina-Taylor. It is humbling to represent the baseball dreams of so many girls and fans.

And it is humbling – and meaningful – to know that I am just a small part of what I see as our collective greatness and beauty.

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