Team uniforms were distributed to the new crop of Indian players this week – another step in the natural progression from January’s player evaluations to April’s first game of the season. I’ve recently learned though that this is not necessarily an insignificant part of an ordinary process.
Arriving home with his black and gold Indians jersey in-hand, one newly minted player proclaimed, “Dad, I’m now officially a Mountville Indian. I can’t even describe how much this means to me.” Wow! More than “making the team,” the seemingly simple act of bestowing a team jersey to him was validation that his dream actually had now, finally, become a reality – a larger-than-life reality of which he was in total awe.
The weightiness of an Indians jersey placed in the eager hands of a wide-eyed, first time Indian player can belie the shirt’s physical size. Woven into the fabric, sewn into the seams can be the heft of some pretty big dreams of a kid who has always imagined what it would be like to wear an Indians uniform. That makes it a pretty big deal.
But where the dream ends, the hard work begins – the work of translating the dream into the experience. In baseball as in all of life, to preserve a dream’s worth, we need to give our very best in living it out, not just now-and-then, but every day – at every game, practice, at-bat, and during every play and inning in the field. We must be willing to “give the shirt off our back” – do whatever is asked, no matter the sacrifice; only then will we be able to look back on a dream and see that it actually became all we imagined it could be – and possibly more.