Negley's Nook: A spotlight for those still chasing
Published: Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, May 1, 2012 14:05
It’s a rare day when I’m at a sporting event without working in some context, whether it is writing an article, taking photos, or simply checking in. Don’t get me wrong; I wouldn’t give up my job for the world. When I tell my parents or friends I’m leaving for work, it means I’m going to watch a basketball game or to interview baseball players on the cusp of the majors.
While you’ll never hear a complaint from me about going to work, it’s nice to take a night off every once in a while. It’s nice to put the pen and paper away. (The phone, on the other hand, isn’t put aside as easily. Twitter is way too addicting.)
My night off location was Coca-Cola Field in downtown Buffalo, where the backdrop is intertwined ramps with cars speeding off to various destinations like a scene from The Jetsons. The park is home to the Buffalo Bisons, the Triple-A affiliate of the New York Mets and the victors Friday, April 27 over the Rochester Red Wings.
The Bisons hit two home runs — one barely made it fair and over the 325-foot fence in right field — and rolled to a 7-3 win after pitching plagued both teams early on. Non-baseball fans would have thought walking the batter was the point of the game in the first two innings.
Bottom line, I took a night off (my parents just gasped at that) and enjoyed a baseball game as a fan. I sat in the freezing cold stands (Mother Nature, I don’t know if you realize but it’s May now) and vied for T-shirts and foam baseballs with obnoxious 6-year-olds.
More than that, though, I gained valuable insight that is commonly lost, especially when the world starts to weigh heavy on our shoulders.
It’s easy to look at guys like 19-year-old Bryce Harper, who was called up from Syracuse last week, or Ben Revere, who bounces back and forth from the Minnesota Twins and the Red Wings like a Sonic pinball game, and think of the promise and rewards of hard work and talent. It’s easy to work non-stop and think that’s what everyone should strive for.
But what about the guys who will never make it out of Buffalo? What about the athletes in any sport who only have so much time? Who do what they love, but will never be rewarded with million- dollar contracts?
It’s that time of year again when people start to move on with their lives. Some are graduating. Some are just beginning their illustrious college careers. Still others are anxiously waiting to start college.
No matter what direction each is going, every single person has a dream and deserves to chase it. Your life doesn’t have to be predetermined or automatically laid out, like a template in a computer program. Don’t let fear or minor details keep you from the world.
Most of those minor league players will never make it to the majors. That doesn’t mean they’re going to quit.
At the same time I was at the ballpark, I was keeping an eye on the NFL Draft. Thirty-two NFL teams choose a combined 253 players in each year’s draft. Most of those guys won’t make an impact on the team. Many will be third-string and will quickly be replaced by the following draft’s incoming class.
That doesn’t stop them from trying. Just like all those players at the Bisons and Red Wings game who keep going. They may get the opportunity. They may not. It doesn’t matter.
The odd thing about sports is that they present so many opportunities exist through all spectrums. Tweet about your favorite team, and you’ll make a list of friends in no time.
The flip side is they offer countless heartbreak. Not simply for fans, but for the players too. Society and media always focus on the best, and thereby the richest.
It’s always about the No. 1 draft pick and the No. 1 major league prospect. The nation was abuzz with Andrew Luck vs. Robert Griffin III. And after two years of anticipation and speculation, the Washington Nationals finally promoted long-time all-star Harper from Syracuse.
It is never about those who aren’t at the top, such as the ball player who never leaves Triple-A or the linebacker who moves from practice squad to practice squad without ever taking the field for an NFL team.
Those guys are still chasing their dreams without fail. It may be hard and it may be tough, but it’s something we should all strive for.
If you love something, do it. If you want to move across the country and find a job, do it. Take risks. Live life. Don’t use Peyton Manning or Nick Swisher as your role models.
Use Omar Quintanilla — possibly the coolest name in the Red Wings-Bisons series — or Rene Tosoni.
Don’t recognize the names? Maybe that’s the point.
Follow Negley on Twitter
Send her an email at email@example.com