Making the transition from high school to college is no easy task. While it is great to have the freedom to take a trip to Hollywood for a walk down Rodeo Drive or catch some sun on McCarthy quad, managing your time and your commitments can be pretty tough for some people. Of course there will always be the workload of classes, allotting enough time to socialize with friends, getting involved on campus, and most importantly, getting enough sleep. With all of this going on, it is very easy to get caught up in the crazy, fast-paced lifestyle USC students lead and forget about the involvements and passions you had in high school.
For me, my passion has always been baseball. I swung a bat for the first time at the age of 3, and played competitively all the way through my senior year of high school. During my high school career I picked up a part-time job as an umpire where I worked two to three times a week officiating games for my old Little League. As baseball proved such a large part of my life, it was so strange to come to USC and essentially erase the game from my life because I was so enamored by everything going on around me on campus.
Fast forward to spring semester when I was approached by a friend of mine asking if I wanted to coach a Little League team with him. Up for the challenge, we were assigned to coach the Red Sox in the Minors Division at Toberman Recreation Center, just three blocks from campus. I had no idea what was in store for us, and as we worked through our first practice, it was apparent that we had a lot of work to do. Most of the kids on the team had never played organized baseball, and as many of them have grown up in less fortunate family and economic situations, they did not have much guidance in how to behave in their everyday lives.
Our first season was a rough one. We went winless through 10 games, and lost by an average margin of 8 runs. You could say it was a disappointing year in terms of wins and losses, but I could not have been happier with my co-coach, my players, or myself. The development that the kids showed from the beginning of the season to end was amazing, and despite all of the complaining about losing, they still managed to have a good time at practice and after the games. The personal growth that I saw in myself and my friend Ehren was equally as rewarding. I learned how to be extremely patient, how to effectively discipline others when necessary, and gained a better appreciation and understanding for those who come from different backgrounds.
Ehren and I are back at it this year with a new look—the Pirates—and it is looking promising. With a few new players, a solid foundation of fundamentals, and a new appreciation for the game, the kids won their first two games 12-0 and 11-2.
So, when you come to college think about what is really important to you and how you want to stay connected to the things that have been a big part of your life. Whether it is music, sports, art, or anything in between, there are endless opportunities for you to continue to pursue your passion both on and off campus, and you will be glad you did!