Christian living, Inspirational

A Walk in the Park

By Del Duduit

No one has a problem-free life. Not even Curtis Granderson.

But you would never know it by talking to him.

The three-time MLB All-Star won the Silver Slugger Award in 2011 and the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award in 2016.

He’s been named the Marvin Miller Man of the Year four times throughout his career, and he was the American League RBI leader in 2011.

Many fans entertain the idea that professional athletes don’t have problems like anyone else. They are well paid, drive fancy cars, and live in big mansions.

But even successful athletes have problems like you and me.

In a few short months, Dugout Devotions II: Inspirations from MLB’s Best will hit the shelves from Iron Stream Media.

One of the players featured is Curtis.

He has to be one of my all-time favorite interviews. He was insightful, open and honest and took time to really talk with me. He didn’t use cliches and use real-life experiences.

Here is a portion of chapter 16.

Life has not been a walk in the park,” he said. “We all have struggles and challenges. There is always a lot of stuff going on.”

Professional baseball players have issues to deal with like other people.

“There is a role model/fandom/stardom that people have of us, and they think we are all supermen,” Curtis added. “They think nothing affects us – that we don’t get sick, or we don’t get hurt, or that we don’t have family issues. None of that happens to us they think.”

But in real life, MLB players experience heartache and encounter everyday obstacles that we all face.

“I was just talking to a couple of buddies of mine that I grew up with and who I’ve known since the first grade,” he recalled. “We all have stuff going on, and we always like to check in with each other and see how we are doing. The usual ‘how are your parents?’ or ‘how are the kids?’ Stuff like that.”

His buddies help to keep him grounded, and they lean on each other for advice.

“We enjoy talking about our lives – -the good and the bad,” he added. “It’s all about having a combination of having people that God has blessed you with in your lives, so at times you can communicate and just vent, or you can just listen.”

The best part about having friends is you can let them know they are not alone during a time of trial.

“We all need people like this,” Curtis said. “Especially in this game – we all need each other because we are gone a lot from our family.”

Having a support system of people outside of the diamond is special for Curtis. “I stay in contact with some friends who knew me before I played baseball, and we help each other. It’s been worth it to have some great friends. They will call or text and just reach out and check in and that’s special.”

Throughout his star-studded career, Curtis has experienced the highs and the lows.

“But you know, through it all, I’ve got some wonderful friends who have helped me through the good and bad times,” he said. “Without them, and without God, I’d be lost.”

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Being a successful player in the professional baseball has its rewards, including recognition, fame, and money. Curtis has learned to accept his stardom, but he also knows he’s put on a pedestal that is unrealistic. Baseball players go through times of struggle just like you. And due to their fame, their problems often become public and they don’t get the chance to deal with them in private. You also may encounter challenging circumstances. Maybe you receive disturbing health news from your doctor, or you find out your company wants to transfer you across the country. Do you have a support system in place to help with unexpected adjustments?

True friends are hard to come by. If you are blessed with some, thank the Lord for them. You can set the example and be the supportive person you want to be to them.

Here are some characteristics of being a genuine and sincere friend:

  • You will show respect: Honor your true friends and make them feel valuable and loved.
  • You will forgive: We all make mistakes and often need forgiveness. Cut your friends some slack when they mess up and be there to support them and help pick up the pieces.
  • You will support: When you go through a struggle, you will discover who your true friends really are. Anyone can be there during celebrations and give you high-fives. But the friends who come around when you’re feeling down and you need to be lifted up, are your real friends.
  • You will hold them accountable: True friends will let you know when you are making the wrong choices. They might encourage you to hold off on making a phone call to someone you are upset and get you to calm down and reconsider. Or they may suggest you don’t go to certain places for fear it might damage your reputation. A true friend will hold you to high godly standards
  • Set boundaries: Never let someone take advantage of your friendship. You must establish rules and expectations to ensure you are protected. Your true friends will never put you in a compromising position. Life will not be a walk in the park, as Curtis said. But when you have true friends, they make the journey around the bases more enjoyable and fun.

Life will not be a walk in the park, as Curtis said. But when you have true friends, they make the journey around the bases more enjoyable and fun. Be the best friend you can be. And always remember that Jesus is a friend who sticks closer than any brother.

Del Duduit is an award-winning writer and author who lives in Lucasville, Ohio with his wife, Angie. They attend Rubyville Community Church. Follow his blog at delduduit.com/blog and his Twitter @delduduit. He is represented by Cyle Young of Hartline Literary Agency.

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