April 18, 2006
AND AFTER ALL THIS TIME TO FIND WE'RE JUST LIKE ALL THE REST...
In the song Backstreets, Bruce Springsteen tells the story of a boy and his girl who, "one soft infested summer...became friends." They spent that season of their youth living each night to its fullest as they swore their lives would go on forever together. They looked to the movies to try "to learn how to walk like the heroes we thought we had to be". But in the end, Terry left for some other guy and the singer realized "after all this time ...we're just like all the rest..."
He and Terry thought that they were special. After part of one hot summer, they believed their lives were going to be different, and that they'd "live forever on the backstreets."
Nothing stays the same. No matter what image we have of ourselves, or the plans that we make; each day we're faced with the reality of what we are, and what we hope to become.
For the past seven years, Florida Atlantic baseball has been fortunate that success was a part of our daily lives. There wasn't a year in that stretch where qualifying for our conference tournament was a question.
That was a worry for "all the rest".
I don't mean to say that smugly. I say it with great appreciation for the hard work of our players and coaches, and the good fortune that has smiled on our program. Each season has been a challenge to finish at or near the top of the standings, but this year is different.
There are five weekends left in the season, and we find ourselves in 10th place in the standings, and asking ourselves this question- What will we do about it? Do we accept the fact that "we're just like all the rest", or do we believe that the summer isn't over and we don't need to be "hiding on the backstreets"?
My fear is that players look around and see where we are, and how we sometimes have played, and think that our fate is sealed, that we aren't capable of mounting the type of charge necessary to overcome the challenge we face. This is the place that so many other teams have sat during the past seven years. I've seen many of them answer the bell and make the tournament as the last seed and end it as champions.
My job is to reassure our guys that nothing is over, and we can do what we have set out to accomplish each year. Our baseball lives are at a crossroads- we don't seem to be getting anywhere and nothing will go our way.
How many people have faced that in their everyday lives?
We all have this image of growing up in a happy, trouble free family. We'll meet someone special, fall in love, marry and raise our own nice little family. Our jobs will be meaningful and rewarding, we might even be rich. Nothing will stop us because that's the life that we want.
But pitchers aren't the only ones who throw us curveballs.
Sometimes the dream takes a darker turn and the life we live changes from the life we hoped to live. Marriages turn south, our children struggle to find themselves; our careers get derailed. As we stare into a future devoid of shining light, we face the same choice that this season presents.
If we can now face up to the fact that we can rise above being "just like all the rest", we'll be stronger for whatever life's highway brings our way. KC