The Summer of Run: “Earned” 3

I am putting the finishing touches on my fifth essay from The Summer of Run, a 4,000-word piece about the three most important life lessons I’ve ever been taught (by men other than my father, that is).

Strangely, this has been the hardest essay to write, taking nearly 14 hours of writing, editing, and thinking time. And that just gets me to the draft stage. Here’s my favorite portion of Act 2, a story about the moment I decided to quit baseball after 11 years:

I thanked him, repeatedly, and declined. Resigned, he shook my hand, and watched me leave.

As I walked out the door, my stomach dropped to the floor and the voice inside me begged me to turn around, but my pride wouldn’t let me. I’d made my decision, I thought, and that meant following through. I’d run track my junior year, but I’d already decided I’d return to baseball in my final year, an idea Coach readily accepted when I approached him about playing at the start of my senior year in high school.

He smiled as I walked towards the stage in May 1990, shaking my hand as I reached out for his.

Mistakes, I learned, aren’t permanent.

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