Someone is always picked last.
If it wasn’t you in high school picked last for whatever gym class you were in, then it was me – or someone who was a lot like me who could think of a hundred other things they would rather be doing than dressing for gym to play something they were not very good at.
Except curling. Man, I loved the days they loaded us into a school bus and took us to the curling rink. Those days were great.
But, curling was a special treat.
Most days we were stuck in the gym, and sometimes I would just tell the coach I had my period. And, cramps. Cramps are the magic word in girls’ gym. They were the “out.” No one argues if you say you have cramps. I would gather my things and sit up in the bleachers with the other girls – the pregnant ones and the ones with sprained ankles and broken arms — and read a book while the rest of the class played whatever gym game the coach had come up with that day.
But, I’ve carried this secret for decades, and it’s time to come clean. I didn’t have cramps. Many times I didn’t even have my period. I lied to the coach.
Because I didn’t want to be picked last. Again.
But, being picked last to do something you didn’t want to do anyway, is sort of just a rite of teenage passage, isn’t it?
It’s nothing like being picked last in this week’s Major League Baseball draft which went on for three days and 40 rounds and more than 1,200 picks. Because last is still far, far better than not-being-picked-at-all.
So, congratulations, Jeremy Ydens who was drafted yesterday by the St. Louis Cardinals. Pick #1,216.
Ydens, a pitcher and hard-hitting outfielder from St. Francis High in Mountain View, California, is committed to UCLA and is probably heading there in the fall. The draft was a toss-away by the Cardinals, hoping maybe he’d change his mind about that college thing.
(Some draft blogs are reporting this morning that Ydens has already “undrafted” himself.)
UCLA head coach John Savage said after Ydens committed to the Bruins: “Jeremy is one of the best players in Northern California. Jeremy is an impact right-handed hitter who should hit for average as well as power. He has the tools to play as a freshman.”
“He’s just unbelievable,” his high school coach Mike Oakland told the San Jose Mercury News last month when Ydens pitched his team to the Central Coast Open Division Title. “I think he is going to go down as one of the best, if not the best, players in St. Francis history.”
In high school, Ydens was a .403 batter and a pitcher with a 1.32 ERA.
“Even when Ydens wasn’t feeling well, he came through in the clutch. Unable to pitch against Valley Christian in late April because he had been under the weather, Ydens ended the tense game with a walk-off home run in the 10th inning, giving St. Francis a victory that keyed its league title run. ‘That was pretty crazy,’ Ydens said last week. ‘I still get chills looking at it and thinking about it.’” ~ The Mercury News, in naming Ydens its Player of the Year in 2015.
Doctor, teacher, firefighter, nurse, baseball player. Ask a little kid today what they want to be when they grow up and that’s what they’ll say. (In that order, according to one recent survey.)
(No kid, apparently, wants to be a blogger.)
To be drafted at all – whether first or 1,200th – to get the chance to play the game that is loved and hungered for by so many thousands of other young players whose dreams, like winning the lottery, are so much bigger than their reality, is impressive. To get that chance to climb to the highest level, a level that the rest of us can’t really understand, is amazing. Maybe even life-changing.
So, congratulations to Jeremy Ydens and to the 1,215 other players who play at the top of their high school or college game and who were drafted by major league teams this week. These young players work hard to make it look easy.
Sure, I know. There are just 750 spots filling out the rosters of 30 big league teams. There just aren’t enough spots for all of you.
But, you’ve got a shot.
And, I hope your dreams come true.