This one’s a bit different. Welcome to BF&N Paul LeBoeuf III, who’s being brave enough to scratch that itch and see if he can fulfill his dream of becoming a pro ballplayer. We’ll have more from Paul’s journey throughout the year…
It’s a beautiful spring day, I’m one of the youngest on the team at 10 years old, and I’m on the baseball field. The crowd is there, the players are there, and cars are going by all around us. All the normal baseball sounds are echoing through the game, but to me, it is silent. I am “in the zone” and at total peace. I have been living life in a not so great childhood but today I feel safe. Today I feel happy. Today I play baseball. A pitch is thrown and the ball is hit my way. I run from right field and make a diving catch. The crowd cheers and I smile. I’m not used to compliments but I get many. It’s at this point that I fall in love with this game. I have found my happy place.
Skip forward 30 years….yup I said 30. I am a 40 year old man, engaged, and have two little kids at home. I have lived my life through tragedy and triumph. I have fallen and I have gotten back up. I have lost a brother to suicide and a baby to miscarriage. I once survived an entire winter without heat or electricity and I’ve even lost myself once or twice….but somehow I’m still here. Somehow I keep going. Somehow that “baseball kid” still lives inside me.
Over the years I’ve thought about playing again and I actually did get back into baseball about 5 years ago in a summer league. It was just for fun and I did okay. We got to the championship and struck out to end the game. During my senior year in high school, I struck out my last at bat. As a sophomore, I struck out to end our season. We live in a World where it’s three strikes and you’re out. Well screw that. I’m not ready to be out. I can’t let things end like this.
So I tell myself I want to play again and I set my sights on the Independent Leagues. My chances of making it (at 40) are slim to none but I don’t care. I refuse to live a life of regret. I need to try. I need to show my children that any and every dream is worth chasing, no matter the odds. I have my selfish reasons too. I want to get back to that “safe place.” I want to feel that deafening silence all around me. I want to be cheered for and feel accomplished again.
I make the decision to try again but now I have to tell others about it. First and foremost, my fiancé. I need her blessing and support. I won’t pursue it unless she’s on board. I will not put my family at risk for anything. I tell her the dream and she simply says “okay, do it.” Wow, now that’s love. I then decide I want to tell the World. I want to tell my story so that I have personal accountability. I want a record of my process so that my children can see how hard I worked no matter the outcome, and I want to inspire others to chase their own dreams. So many people don’t even try because they are afraid to fail or are convinced by others that they will never make it. I’m in the same boat. I’m terrified of failing and I know that many folks I’ve told have zero faith in me. But that’s okay. I’m not doing for them. Im doing it for myself and my kids.
So the training has started and I’ve been trying to make connections throughout social media with other baseball folks and those who are willing to listen to my story. It’s a story that’s in progress and it’s live and it’s raw. It changes everyday and the ending has yet to be written.
So with that, I step to the plate, I look this dream in the eye, and I say “throw me another pitch, I dare you.”