Sports used to be my life. I was a baseball catcher, planning to go pro. Obsessed over it for four years in college. Failed at it for four years. Got all depressed. Started hating baseball. Hated sports. Sort of hated myself.
I probably should have seen a therapist.
Without baseball, however—without my failure—I never could have become what I am today. Through baseball and the failure I saw things I never could have otherwise.
Failure isn't a disease. It’s a symptom of something else. And my disease was fear.
When baseball and college ended, I decided that if my only reason for not doing something was fear, then I would try. Period.
It's worked. It's taken me a long way in a short time.
But I never would have gotten here, never would have learned courage and many other things, without sports. And that's only part of what sports can give.
Today's blog post is over at ShawnSmucker.com. Writer, blogger, and human being extraordinaire Shawn Smucker invited me to write about how writing The Edge of Legend changed me. Below is an excerpt and a link to the post at his site.
I could fill a book about what The Edge of Legend did to me. That’s part of what made its story so powerful, part of why I knew I had to tell it.
Since I want to keep this short, I’ll just tell a story.
Heading into college six years ago, I thought I’d become a pro baseball player. I was a catcher, and darn studly. Instead, I mostly rode the bench. I had a few brilliant days and weeks, but mostly I sucked. It wasn’t because I wasn’t good. It was because I was scared.
It got so bad that I couldn’t even throw the ball back to the pitcher. It went everywhere but to the guy’s chest. It was bad. It was painful. It was humiliating. And the more I tried to fix it, the worse it got.
We baseball players call it “the yips.” And dude, I was yippin’ hard.
I could blast batting practice pitches 500 feet with no problem. I had the strongest arm on the team. But that 60-foot toss back to the pitcher—it terrified me. It was so embarrassing when it went wrong. Who can’t throw the ball 60 feet? It carried over into everything else, eating at my game like a cancer.
Read how I recovered over at ShawnSmucker.com.
If you're in the Wilmington area tonight and not all busy with cheesy Valentine's Day romance, I've got something for you to do. Better yet, make this part of your cheesy Valentine's Day romance.
Wilmington Star-News writer Ben Steelman will host Prologue at 7 p.m. tonight at the WHQR radio station's gallery, and I'll be his guest. Prologue is a regional book club event in which Ben, essentially, will "discuss notable works by local and regional authors." WHQR's gallery is located at 254 N. Front Street, on the third floor. They have an elevator. They will also have light refreshments.
And I will have copies of The Edge of Legend, some of which you may or may not be able to win for free.
See you there!
(From the official press release)
Harlem Globetrotter and Wilson hometown hero Anthony "Ant" Atkinson, the subject of a new book, "The Edge of Legend," will be at Dick's Hot Dogs in Wilson from 12:30-3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 18, to talk to the public. Brandon Sneed, the book's author, will also appear. Both will sign copies of the book.
This Thursday, Dec. 2, Katie and I will be at Pomegranate Books, Wilmington's largest independent bookstore, where we'll be discussing the publishing process. I'll share our story and what I've learned about getting published in the past couple of years. I've learned a ton, through dealing with agents and publishers and writers who are much better than me. We'll be discussing the way publishing is changing, and how our company is getting on the cutting edge of the industry.
There are tons of good writers out there with great ideas. Not all of them can get book deals, because now, more than ever, it takes something truly eye-catching and distinctive to grab a publisher's eye. That's where we come in. We'll also be
I'll be on Jammin 99.3 in Wilson tomorrow morning at 8:45 for 15 or 20 minutes, talking with the guys about The Edge of Legend. If you're not in the Wilson area, you can stream the interview live at jammin993.com.
Hopefully, I won't ramble too much. I tend to do that.
So tune in. I'll be making a special announcement about a just-scheduled and huge upcoming book event in the Wilson area, and talking about whatever else those cool dudes decide to talk about.
Should be fun.
Since there's never any easy way to go about shameless self-promotion, I'll just come right out with it: I could really use some help. Sales for The Edge of Legend are going great regionally, but we're now starting the initial phase of pushing it out into the rest of the world. And really, most of this work falls on the shoulders of me and Katie. That's part of the publishing deal.
I'll share more details later, but for now, there are two ways you can help. And they're really simple.
1. Go leave us a review on Amazon.
2. Go buy a book (or have your friends buy a book) on Amazon.
Here's why it's important.
Had a great weekend in Wilson. If I named every single awesome thing, this blog post would be longer than anything any of you should read. But there are always things, often hilarious, that happen to writers in their shameless self-promotional efforts.
I'm going to be in Wilson and at Barton College a LOT this weekend promoting The Edge of Legend, my book about Barton basketball hero, Wilson hometown legend, and all-around inspiring dude Ant Atkinson. (Maybe that should have been its title?) Here's the schedule. Would love to see you somewhere at some point.