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How I Got in the Game

I wanted to quit. I dreaded the thought of another practice, another game to play. At the age of 9, I had finally found my passion in life. Or so I thought. Upon getting a soccer ball on my birthday and kicking it around I grew fond with the game.

Once I joined a team, though, it became quite apparent that becoming great at something would take a lot of hard work, dedication, and endurance through pain.

My first impression in becoming a soccer player was that I'd score goals. Lots of them. That was what I longed for, dreamed about. Yet when the games were played it seemed like an impossible task full of obstacles and lots of pain, specially to my shins!

I never did score a goal. My one highlight of that 1993 season with the Strikers was getting an assist for a goal to help our team to victory one of the final games we played.

However at that point in time I already had made up my mind---I was stepping off the field for good. It wasn't a commitment I was going to invest in. I was done.

The Game that Got Me

The following summer my life was forever changed in a single week's span in June of 1994. First I attended a Billy Graham crusade in Cleveland at the old Municipal Stadium making a commitment to follow Christ that day.

Then just 4 days later my Dad took me to the newly sparkling Jacobs Field and I saw my first ever Indians game in person (more on these events in a future blog post).

It just so happened that the Cleveland Indians were entering into a golden age of winning baseball and taking me for a thrill ride of emotions as I entered into my teenage years.

By the summer of 1995 in the midst of an amazing championship season of comebacks and thrilling playoff victories, I was hooked on baseball. It got a hold on me and hasn't let me go since!

Everything came together in the following years to instill the passion of the game within me. My best friend and brother began collecting baseball cards. We played the baseball video games for hours and hours. Played whiffle ball in the backyard. Watched Indians games together. I ate, breathed, and lived for baseball. It was a complete obsession of mine.

Note about picture: To date I've attended over 60 games at Jacobs Field including this one with friends from church a few years back.

Stuck on the Sidelines

Yet despite my love of the game, I never could bring myself to tryout for a baseball team. I had missed the prime years to play little league and the competition was far tougher, more intimating in middle school and high school.

I stayed stuck on the sidelines, timid and frustrated that I couldn't get on the field and play the game I loved. I told myself that I wasn't good enough. That it was too late to get involved.

The recurring thought surfaced in my mind, "Obviously I'm not going to become a major league baseball player. I didn't have the physical or mental tools to succeed. So why bother?"

Meanwhile I became a spectator. Not only in watching my beloved Cleveland Indians but with both my younger brothers who played little league baseball.

While I convinced myself that the stinging pain of getting hit with a baseball was the reason I wasn't on the field, the pain of regret of not playing was far worse.

Stepping Up to the Plate

Eventually I did get on the field. As a young twenty-one year old the opportunity to play church slow pitch softball was presented to me. This time around I didn't hesitate to get involved. My best friend and I joined the team, excited to play the game we loved.

That summer of 2005 was a fascinating season of discovering what I had missed all those years of my youth.

I experienced the thrill of victory, the string of defeat. Overcame the struggles of maintaining a consistent swing while breathing in sighs of relief when I did string together a few hits in a game. Delighted in catching fly balls in the outfield but grew frustrated when I failed to field my position.

For the next several years I played on a team that was frankly....terrible. We went years without a single win. Stuck in a league that was full of homerun bashers who had years of prior experience while we possessed players that lacked the skill set to succeed.

While more times than not we had fun, the frustrations grew larger from season to season.

Eventually the losing wore myself and others down, but the experience of being on the field proved invaluable. I finally got in the game that I loved.

Note about picture: It's always a thrill to step into a batting cage like I am here at the recent Guardians fan fest!

Striking Out in Life

In the midst of this summers of being involved in the game of softball, I was stuck on the sidelines in the game of life. My twenties played out with much passivity and procrastination when it came to living my life with any sense of purpose and passion.

An entire decade passed by me in which I longed to make progress but remained stuck on the sidelines watching others succeed hitting homeruns with their lives in getting married, graduating with college degrees, finding meaningful work, and starting families.

Frustrations and disappointments persisted into my life as I hit the age of thirty. By early 2015, I was 31 and still living with my parents. Single, with two college degrees in fields of work I deep down knew I had wasted so much time and money in what I had studied. I was also experiencing bitterness towards the church I had attended for many years.

Getting into the Game of Life

That spring was when everything began to change in my life. I finally discovered a new attitude and approach towards goal--setting. I began to live out a my one word for that year "commit" and began got plugged back into my church again. I joined a small group and began serving Sunday mornings regularly. I committed myself to a life worth living.

That fall I took the scary leap into the unknown by signing up to be on a missions team with my church to help finish building a church in Cancun, Mexico. That week is when I met my future roommate Travis and forever it changed the direction of my life.

It was soon after that I experienced what I had longed for years and years----meaningful progress. Forward movement towards meaningful, lasting change. Goal---setting and productivity took root in my life. I uncovered a system that worked and has made a lasting impact to this day.

Now at the age of 39 I'm happily married to my wife Kathy and have experienced nearly a full decade of milestone moments and sustaining growth in all areas of my life. All because I took the steps out onto the field and got into the game of life.

Note about picture: This is my wife Kathy and I on our honeymoon at Coors Field before a Rockies game last June.

How You Can Get into the Game

This is where Homerun Hope comes into play. God has put in my heart to tell my story to help educate, equip, and empower others to get into the game of life.

To take the lessons I've learned with the wisdom that's been gained so that you too can succeed in life on the field whether it be with your health, finances, career, spiritual walk, or relationships.

Right now you may be on the verge of quitting when it comes to pursuing your biggest dreams. Or afraid that lasting change and meaningful progress isn't possible. All hope is lost.

My life is living proof that this isn't the case. No matter the obstacles you're currently facing, the fears and doubts that you're up against, or the failures you've encountered----there is still hope. It's not too late to step up to the plate and play this game.

Over the next several weeks, starting in May, I'm going to introduce the key principles that I'm basing this movement of Homerun Hope on. Each Friday, a new 360 Journey (stay tuned for more about what this is) article will be posted uncovering the foundation of our goal achievement process.

My vision is that through this movement you too can get into the game of life like I did. Together we're going to hit a homerun towards meaningful, lasting change for what lies into tomorrow. So join our team and let's get out on the field!

Sources: First and last photos courtesy of, other photos are my own

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