It’s late August of 2005, I’m at the Lloyd Simmons Baseball Facility starting my freshman year of college baseball at Seminole State College in Seminole, Oklahoma. I’m about to go through one of the hardest but most transforming 4 months of my life. To put it into perspective, we started the fall with 43 players. Nobody got cut. 13 players quit by December. Yes, quit not cut. 3 more would quit by March. Only the “crazy” would survive…or strong? However you want to view it. If you didn’t love baseball, Seminole wasn’t the place for you.
There were multiple lessons throughout that fall but nothing has stuck with me longer than “A New Day.” The first week at Seminole, we were given a piece of paper with a poem written on it. The poem was titled “A New Day.” We were instructed to take the poem home and memorize it. Our head coach said he would recommend all of us to hang the poem in a place where we would see it everyday. Some did. Some didn’t. Some probably lost it before leaving the facility.
Two months passed. A few players have quit. The long days and high standards just weren’t for everyone. No one has mentioned the poem we were supposed to memorize since the day we got it. Majority of us probably forgot it by now. Personally, quotes and poems have always inspired me so I had it taped above my bed so I wouldn’t forget about it. I read the poem most days but not everyday yet. I would wonder often, “would we ever be tested on this?”
The test would come sooner than most players would have liked. We arrived to the baseball facility, got dressed for practice and headed out to stretch. As we headed to the outfield our head coach was standing there waiting for us, “Men, can anyone recite “A New Day?”
We all stood silent, not moving, fearing for the worst. One by one he called on guys to recite the poem. A few failed. We ran. We ran some more.
Let’s try this again. “Can anyone recite “A New Day?” A few more failed. Finally I felt confident and spoke up. I know it! I started in……
“This is the beginning of a new day.
I have been given this day to use as I will.
I can waste it or use it for good.”
I got half way through the poem and choked under the pressure. Damn I was pissed. I thought I was prepared but apparently not. Then we ran some more.
Running is a funny thing. It may be the best motivator that I have experienced in a team setting. It’s interesting how learning and attention to detail accelerate when running is placed as a punishment. Haha.
After a good amount of running, we all collaborated and pieced the poem together. A few words here, a few words there, a few arguments about what sentence went where, finally we figured it out. There’s some truth to that “FIGURE IT OUT” statement you hear coaches often say. This was just the beginning of the tests. I called this the “Prelude.”
Seminole has many traditions but none bigger than morning weights. Morning weights connects every player that has ever played as Seminole. Morning weights dates back to the 70’s and let me tell you…..the stories are insane. We’ll save those for another time though…..
Morning weights starts at 5am in the weight room at the baseball facility. There’s three parts of morning weights. The Quick Mile, The Core, and The Weight Room Circuit. All three are fun in their own unique way. Hopefully you catch the sarcasm in that last sentence.
The Quick Mile is about .7 of a mile sprint that must be ran in 4 minutes. If you miss the time….you run it again after the weight room circuit.
The Core is located inside the facility on the pitching turf area next to the batting cages. We all spread out and take our spots. We go through multiple core exercises for the next 15 minutes. It’s as hard as you can go and as fast as you can go for as long as you can go. Each exercise lasts about 30 seconds. If you go hard….next exercise. If anyone doesn’t go hard, slows up or quits working….START OVER. Our first morning weights we started over 12 times. It was a loooooooooong morning to say the least. The last exercise in the The Core is what this blog post is all about….6 Inch Leg Holds. I’m sure you baseball guys have had some fun experiences with these. So as we finally get through starting over 12 times, coach yells “6 Inch Leg Holds, Straight Out, Don’t Adjust, Don’t Drop. GO!” As we held our legs straight out together for 30 seconds, legs already shaking, people moaning and groaning, pouring sweat down our faces, coach said “A New Day Poem, everyone together, GO!” We started…..messed it up. Had to start over. “Six Inches, GO…..A New Day….GO!”. That continued for another 10 minutes or so until we completed “A New Day” together. From that day forward I have read this poem every morning……
I’ll never forget that workout. It engrained that poem inside me for the rest of my life. When I read the poem my thought is always “WIN THE DAY”. Anyone that has been around me knows I say that slogan often. “WIN THE DAY” is my short version of this poem.
Imagine what the world would look like if we all PAID THE PRICE each day. I’m not perfect. I fail. Somedays I lose. But you can bet your ass everyday I will read this poem and strive to “WIN THE DAY”.
“My life goal is to have a positive impact on 1 million people through baseball, education, and exercise.”