Sunday, February 22, 2009
This is Mr. Weber's address to the JPII students on Monday, February 23, 2009.
There was a girl at my old school who was an amazing softball player. From the age of 8, she was the star of her traveling team. She played pitcher most of the time (short-stop when she rotated out of pitcher), always batted 3rd or 4th in the line-up, was always the one expected to make the big hit or get the key strike out. From the age of 7-12 her traveling team won the World Series 4 of those 6 years, which meant she played softball from February through the end of August, not counting fall softball for a couple of months each year. When she joined our high school team in 7th grade, she instantly became our #2 pitcher, by 8th grade, she was undoubtedly the best girl on our high school team. Each year, she got better.
By her senior year, she had been playing softball almost continually for 11 years. Her production was fantastic: She batted .550 with a slugging percentage of .825—both phenomenal numbers for fast pitch softball—and had an ERA as pitcher of just under .5. D-I college softball programs from all over the country were recruiting her, including the school she most wanted to attend as a freshman. They were all offering her free rides.
Except… She didn’t want to play college softball. She had grown to hate it.
And who could really blame her? For almost 11 years she had dedicated her life to softball, only dabbling in other sports, despite the fact she was a phenomenal athlete. She hadn’t dated much—she was away most weekends in tournaments. She didn’t have the kind of close friends at her high school one might hope to develop over four years, since so much or her time was spent on traveling teams outside the school. In the end, she was burned out. She just wanted to go to college like everybody else.
I once heard a comedian who said his wife was in labor 30 hours straight before the birth of their first child. He said he “didn’t even want to do something that felt GOOD for 30 straight hours”.
There is some wisdom in that humor! Being a member of an athletic team is a wonderful thing, studying hard is an excellent thing, working hard for something you care about is a good thing. But don’t let it be the ONLY thing.
Diversify. I’m not talking about your stock portfolio. I mean diversify your commitments. Pour your passions into many things. Try some things you’re not inclined to do naturally. Taste, Experience, Join, Enjoy things that you haven’t tasted, experienced, joined or enjoyed before. You’ll be fresher, wiser and happier.