This post may be written from a little different stance than I'm used to writing but I must speak of a certain encounter I had recently. This meeting is something that can hold meaning to anyone of our lives...young or old, hopeless or hopeful. I think everyone can learn a little bit from El Paso's newest rookie, 34-year old Barry Fowler.
Yes, he is my roommate on the road. Yes, he is 34-years old (a full ten years older than me). And yes, he actually is a rookie.
Barry pitched four years at the University of Georgia in his college years and carried a respectable track record throughout his amateur play. He claims that his biggest accomplishment on the baseball field is defeating Mark Prior in a USC-Georgia showdown. This accomplishment is worthy in the eyes of many but I believe his biggest accomplishment has just occurred.
Barry's last pitch in college was thrown in 1999. Upon viewing the time between then and now...little offers about Barry's whereabouts. There is one answer though - he did not journey into the world of professional baseball...until now.
Its 2010 and one can only ask, "What in the world has he been doing the past ten years?!"
A few personal matters kept Barry away from baseball over the ten years but did not stop his love for the game of baseball. This game, although tough and unjust at times, kept him going and he knew somewhere, someday he was going to return.
After a brief experience with a team in the (now defunct) South Coast League, Barry worked out with several teams but was unsuccessful in joining their game-day rosters. He spent spring training in 2010 with the Pensacola Pelicans before joining the Desert Valley Mountain Lions of the CBL. His hard work and determination finally paid off through a short time later as he worked out with the Diablos last week and was signed to his first true professional contract.
In the world we live in today, wanting a second chance at something you love and actually going out and getting it are two big differences. We tend to want things to come our way and instead of going out and grabbing the bull by the horns, expect things to fall into our lap. This has never been my method of going about life and after meeting Barry, this is not his either.
His courageous journey back to baseball after ten years away can hold purpose in every one of our lives. It shows one standing up for their dreams in the face of adversity and proving that age should never really be a factor. Some walk away from what they love at an early age and whether that love is sports, art, or significant others, Barry has proven it's never actually too late to go back.