A Shattered Dream

May 27, 2008
By Mike Lau, Park Ridge, IL

A Shattered Dream

Everybody has goals. Everybody has hopes. Everybody has dreams. But sometimes people or obstacles stand in your way. If it’s not hard or worth fighting for, is it really a goal, a hope, or dream? This past year not making the varsity baseball team led me to make a decision that will forever change my life.

Going all the way back to T-Ball, it seemed too easy. I was born to play baseball. I have been playing baseball since I was 5 years old—batting, fielding, running, and learning for 12 years. In my town’s baseball league, you play two years in each league level. Each year that I entered a new level, I was picked in the first round. During each first year on a new team, my team came in 1st or 2nd place overall. I also made the traveling all-star team eight years out of ten. When I step out onto the field, I’m in a different world. I give everything I have from the first out to the last out. That’s how I have approached every game for my whole career.

I live and breathe baseball.

It all changed when I tried out for the varsity team this year. “I’m sorry, Mike, but you didn’t make the team.” Those are the words my coach spoke to me in his office after he chose the team roster. I was in complete shock. In my head, my thoughts were rushing around until they were interrupted by the words that just made me want to fucking scream: “You have nothing to offer besides the outfield.” Let’s take a step back. On the sophomore baseball team I had the best batting average, second most hits and the least strikeouts of my whole team. At the end of the year baseball dinner, the coaches say things about each of their players. Last year when my sophomore coach called my name, he said, “Michael Lau is the best teammate anyone could ask for.” But according to the varsity coach, all I could offer him and his team was how I play the outfield. The walk out of the office to face my fellow teammates was extremely hard. I was trying so hard to fight back tears. All the awaiting players and team members were shocked, and all I could do was get my stuff and walk out of there like it didn’t matter. But it did matter. How could something I have been doing and working for my whole life be gone just like that? So many things were going through my head. I had to take a longer drive home than required, because I knew when I got home I would have to tell my mom that I didn’t make the team. I knew it would hurt her more then it could ever hurt me. In all of my baseball years, my mom has missed only one of my games and that was when a game conflicted with her graduation from her master’s degree program. She believes in me more than anyone else—even myself. When I told her, she thought I was kidding, but when I didn’t want to talk about it, she knew.

I spent the next month trying to figure out what I had done wrong but I couldn’t. For that month, I told myself that I wasn’t going to try out next year for the team. Then it dawned on me: how could I let one man stand in my way of something I really love? I had to prove to him and myself that it was a mistake to cut me from the team. If I didn’t give everything I had to improve, I would be doing a disservice to myself. I plan to play summer baseball with the varsity team, which is preparation for the next spring season. I also plan to try out for the team next year. This experience taught me a huge lesson that will always stick with me. Life sometimes can be unfair and things you deserve can get taken away, but the only thing you can do is shrug it off and keep trying.

In this life, you can never give up.

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