In my last-ever column for the Optimist, I’d like to talk a little bit about failure.
I’m graduating in less than two weeks. I’ve been a college athlete for four years, three of them at the Div. I level. I’ve passed every class I’ve ever taken. I got through college in four years, despite two transfers. And I earned an editing position at this wonderful paper.
All this indicates that I’ve had various stages of success. But, in the last four years (and really, all my life), I’ve experienced a ton of failure, too.
First, understand that I play a sport of failure. In softball, a player is considered amazing if she only fails seven out of 10 times. But even with those odds, I’ve been less successful than many of my peers.
When I was a freshman at UNR, I was a wide-eyed, optimistic young athlete who had dominated on the field my entire life. But I didn’t dominate in the Western Athletic Conference, and at the end of the year, I was told I could stay, but I wouldn’t play. So I transferred to a junior college, the last place I ever thought I would end up, and I had the best season of my life. I found my confidence again, and I opened up a new world of possibilities for myself.
When I got to ACU, I struggled again. In the last two years, I’ve been out on the mound many times, trying as hard as I can but struggling to get an out. And sometimes, due to circumstances, I’ve had to stay out there and work my way out of those terrible situations, even when it seemed impossible.
So now that I’m about to enter the real world and an unpredictable job market, I’ve decided that my failures have taught me so much more than my successes have.
My failure at UNR taught me that life will almost never turn out the way you planned it. I had to pull myself out of that situation, start back at the bottom and climb back up to the top. And I did it, against all odds.
My struggles at ACU have taught me that sometimes, there isn’t anyone else who can come in and fix things. Sometimes, you’re the only man out there, and you have to fight even when you’re down. And I’ve done that. It wasn’t pretty, but I kept my head above water.
And now, even though I’m preparing to throw my last pitch ever, I’m about to face the rejection of maybe dozens of employers. Out of the frying pan and into the fire. But no matter how many “no’s” I get, I know how to stay afloat until I get a “yes.”
So use your failures. Let them push you to the top. If college had been a smooth ride, I wouldn’t have ended up at ACU. And this wonderful school has been the best thing that’s ever happened to me.