Results tagged ‘ Christina Taylor Green ’

Baseball and Education: Our Future

“She was the only girl on her Canyon del Oro Little League baseball team and played second base. John Green said his daughter wanted to be the first woman to play major league baseball.”
- Christina-Taylor Green’s Obituary. Age 9, Victim in the Tucson Shootings.

I took off my Christina-Taylor Green “Hope” bracelet and placed it on my closet shelf. I was officially done with my three and half week trip through Spring Training. It was a long haul but I loved it. I am truly thankful for the opportunity to combine my three loves: education, baseball, and helping people.

Joe Neikro pulled me aside from the other women who were trying out for the Colorado Silver Bullets and told me he had seen enough and to expect a phone call in a few months. I can’t find the words to describe the euphoria that I felt the night I received that phone call or the thrill of signing my first pro contract.

Before I got to the Bullets’ camp, I was having some arm troubles, but I figured I could just work through it. It was a spring training game under the lights and I was called in to get us out of a jam. Men on 1st and 2nd, with no outs. On my first pitch the runner got caught stealing third; I then struck out the batter; And the next guy grounded out. No one scored. Inning over.

After the game, I was summoned by coaches Joe and Phil Neikro. Later, when I left the lockerroom, I saw my grandfather beaming at me. He said I was the best that pitched that night and that I was sure to make the team. I gave him a hug. But I had just been cut. And just like that – my pro baseball dream was over. And I didn’t sleep for a month.

Getting “cut” can have serious ramifications. Twenty percent of elite athletes require considerable psychological adjustment upon their career termination (Lavallee, 2005). Helping athletes both prepare and cope with retirement can help lower career transition distress (Wippert & Wippert, 2010; Lavalle, 2005; Baillie & Danish, 1992).

Like many of the minor leaguers that I talked to during this spring training trip, I also left school early to pursue a professional baseball career. Then when I was released I went back to school. Through my education, I have had the amazing opportunities to chase other dreams – some I have caught – others I’m still running after – and there are ones I haven’t even dreamt yet.

Sport in Society understands that an education can help players prepare and cope with retirement. Northeastern University has made it possible for professional baseball players, coaches, and umpires to chase their dreams while also preparing for their life journey.

In a discussion on the benefits of our program, I shared that, “a degree would likely make the players better husbands and fathers.” And without hesitation, the Assistant GM replied back, “And it will also make them better players.”

Better players
Better husbands
Better fathers
This is what baseball AND an education can do.

*For more information on Northeastern University’s online degree program or Sport in Society, please send me a note and I’ll get right back to you.

Christina-Taylor Green

I’m not going to die,
I’m going home
Like a shooting star
-Sojourner Truth

I have been trying to write this post for three days now. How can I describe the sickness I feel in my stomach every time I think of her smile, her dreams, her youth? Should I share that my favorite part of my day is when I kiss my daughter goodnight because I know she is home safe? Christina Taylor Green was nine-years-old when she was killed in the senseless shooting in Tucson. Christina’s dream was to become the first woman to play in the major
leagues.

According to the Canyon Del Oro Little League website, “Christina’s love for the game of baseball did not have to be learned or developed. The family connections to the game made it a part of who she was.”  In the aftermath of
Christina’s death, people reached out to Baseball For All, asking what we could
do to honor her. Like many of my players, Christina was the only girl on her
baseball team. This commonality ties us forever to Christina’s spirit.

I think maybe the only way for me to write this post is to think of her smile. Her dreams. Her youth. And to see hope. Christina’s spirit lives on in HOPE… a hope that through her memory we can become better. We can love more, dream bigger, and strive for peace. To honor Christina’s memory, I will wear her Little League’s memorial patch while throwing BP at Spring Training. But spiritually speaking, I somehow feel that it is not I honoring her, but her honoring me.

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