When I think about UAB, I think of the word opportunity. So many athletes have come to UAB to pursue that “opportunity” given to them by their coaches. Someone, somewhere saw your talent and wanted to give you a special opportunity to represent this university. What we do with that opportunity is dependent on one factor: you. Sports related or not, we have the choice to determine if we are going to make the most of the opportunity given to us in life. I want to write on my experience on making the most of my opportunity at UAB.
Fortunately enough, Coach Shoop gave me this opportunity. Coach sold me on three core values of the baseball team:
For me, these three core values are the fundamentals for what it took me to fully fulfill my opportunity in sports and in life.
First. Honor God. How does this relate to you? It’s simple… humble yourself and be thankful. As an athlete, I catch myself thinking that what I have done has gotten me to where I am, but in reality my hard work is only a fraction of the puzzle. I firmly believe that I have been given these abilities to fulfill my opportunity for one purpose: to live for God and to glorify Him. Christian or not, humbling yourself is one of the most important things you can do in your life. Put yourself aside, put what is important in front of you, and live for that. If I can pass on one piece of advice I have learned from my three years here, it is to be thankful for what God has given you. Take a step back and realize that He chose YOU to be right where YOU are and to make the most of that opportunity that YOU currently are in.
Second. Be Uncommon. Be different than normal. Do you catch yourself going through the motions everyday? How are you setting yourself apart from others? Many people are often hesitant to set themselves apart from others because they lack confidence in their abilities to lead others. The best way for you to be uncommon is to add value into someone’s life. Look for ways you can put a positive spin on someone’s day. For me, the most memorable moment at UAB is watching my teammates grow this past year in their journey with God. Every week it seemed like I was having a conversation with someone about THEIR purpose God has called them to. All I had to do was listen, pray, and help set the example of what uncommon looks like.
Third. Be Accountable. Some find this to be hard. So often, we look to make an excuse when something doesn’t go our way. Think about it, how many times have you complained the last hour? We have a “no excuse” rule on our team and I admit, it is often forgotten about. Several times over these last three years I did try to really focus on not making an excuse and accepting the consequences for my actions and I realized it really puts a different perspective on the situation. Think of ways that you can be accountable and accept the result of what happened without using “BUT.”
The summary is this: If you Honor God, you will be uncommon, simply because of the way that He calls us to live. When you honor God, you will be accountable, because our God offers endless grace and forgiveness so there is no burden to carry or worry about.
In closing, this is my formal announcement to my Blazer family that I will not be attending UAB in the fall for my junior football and baseball season. I think God has used these last three years to mold me for my next challenge in life. This week I made one of the toughest decisions of my life. I have been sitting at the threshold of two childhood dreams: play two collegiate sports and play professional baseball. I feel as if I am going to live out both of those dreams this year. I never thought professional baseball would be this close; however, I have been given an opportunity I cannot turn down. My UAB football experience went a lot faster than I wanted and I hate to see all the long hours not be used September 2, but I know the time I spent with the football team helped shape me into the baseball player I am today. Coach Clark has been such a blessing to UAB and me and I am glad I had the privilege to be a part of the movement that he has created.
I am off to fulfill this next opportunity God has given to me in life. While there will be challenges, I will remain strong in the three main core values that got me to where I am today and I challenge you to do the same.
God Bless and Go Blazers!!