The offseason is, was, and always will be my least favorite time of the year.
The end of the Fall, going into the Winter, the days seem to take so much longer without baseball.
But, that's until you fill that void...
We're blessed with a world of awesome technology that can incorporate our hobbies, loves, and passions right into the palms of our hands. We have baseball, always. Whether it's watching the countless amounts of awesome baseball-related films, watching highlights or game replays, or finding a local facility near you to crush some baseballs or toss the ball around with someone; it's always there.
When you're playing, you want to enjoy every single minute of it, but you also get that thought in the back of your mind, what will I do when playing competitively is no longer an option?
Where do I go when a game that has quintessentially been my companion since I was a child, is no longer an option?
I'll tell you what I learned...
During the off-season, KEEP THAT SAME IN-SEASON ENERGY!
Grind, grind and grind some more. This can definitely go with your post-playing days as well, but while you're playing, make sure you work twice as hard as you feel like you should be working. Those days you spent tirelessly on a field on your off days stroking baseballs and taking field work, or throwing pens, take that time in your offseason and get yourself in the gym and work your ass off. Take the rituals you maintained in-season and keep them in your offseason plans. Did you have a certain playlist you played on the bus on the way to games? If so, add those songs to your commute while driving to class, or to the gym, or wherever you're going to keep in mind why you're grinding so adamantly.
One thing that you never want to let diminish, especially in that long, painful offseason is your relationship with your teammates. Instead of growing apart for those months, make an extra effort to work out with those people, make plans with those people, and develop a bond that can't be broken. Friends/teammates are formed on the field, family is formed around it. You guys may have gone into the previous season or baseball endeavor as strangers, but open up to them and make extra efforts to form relationships with your teammates, and you'll have friends forever, or like I said before, even 'family.' I have dudes to this day I go to bars or clubs with, watch games with, workout with, because the bond that's created as teammates is unbreakable.
What's better than hearing a song you guys used to rage to in college together before games come on outside of the field later in life and you guys look at each other and laugh and go 'back in time' mentally for a second. Oh, the nostalgia...
Now as it goes for your days after playing this beautiful game...
After my playing days concluded, I felt lost for quite some time. Life didn't feel right; to be honest...nothing quite felt right.
After the game that you loved in and out so adamantly for 20+ years of your young life, abruptly leaves you (so you think), you feel sooo lost. I'm sure there are many baseball players, past and present who feel this way
As much as it sucks that there are no more "opening" days personally for you, as much as it sucks that there are no more big games, under the lights, in the spotlight for your family or entire college to attend, the game is always there.
If you truly love baseball, as I do, you know that even during the post-playing days, your life amongst the game is still alive and well. Your "offseason" may be everlasting as far as playing goes, but your learned knowledge and experiences through the game have become so useful in everyday life, that you can reflect on the game every single day; even if it's subconsciously.
The game of baseball has led me to so many incredible opportunities, experiences, and life lessons.
From fashion to self-confidence, to love and respect, to loyalty, to how to be a friend/teammate, baseball has been a key contributor to every facet of my life.
For the fashion aspect, when you're playing ball, a lot of times you try out different looks, different spikes, different eye black designs, no batting gloves/batting gloves on, etc; the sport allows you to be superbly versatile with your "swagger," and that's been so key in my love and admiration for fashion off of the field.
Self-confidence is key, and baseball taught me ALL about that. Baseball might be the most humbling sport of all, because you can be on top of the world going 15 for 20 with 5 bombs, then go 0 for your next 30; it's a matter of confidence in yourself to be better and learn. That's what life is all about, adjusting and learning while staying confident in your abilities. Baseball also teaches you about relationships...
Maintaining relationships and morals through baseball is key and majorly vital to your success. Being a good teammate and your work ethic outweigh any skill you can bring to the table. The beauty in the game, and even the off-season, is in all that it teaches you, as a human.