Dear Dr. Baehr

I have pursued my hopes and dreams ever since I was four years old. I have built a life around a game that is no longer a game. The game has become my life and my life has developed through the game. I have failed and succeeded, I have felt the hairs on my neck stand up as the scouts all stare at me with their radar guns ablaze, I have punted Gatorade containers, broken bats and punched holes through walls, I have seen all my polar sides of me through an activity that most people see as just a game. I have discovered the game within the game and with that comes my biggest fear. My coach has always said: “give everything you have on the field because the day will come where someone will tell you that you aren’t good enough to compete, and just like that your career will be over.”
If I had a parallel experience to Maggie in the movie Million Dollar Baby I can’t even begin to think about how my life would change without my eyes watering. I don’t know how I would feel and what emotions would be churning in my head. I do know that the decision that Maggie made to end her life would definitely be an unavoidable decision that I will have to make for myself.
I can understand where she is coming from. Let’s assume I have spent on average an hour and a half of each day (its probably more) of my life to baseball since I began playing at age four. That’s 122,640 hours of my life that was spent developing and growing that is cut out from under my feet. It’s a part of me that has already died.
Sure there are options I can do that can use this knowledge I have gained like: coaching, writing a book, announcing…, but I could never do any of those things. I have competed in my life for most of what I have to call my own in my life and have always fought tooth and nail over the most petty of things. I can’t bear the thought of never being able to compete in the sport that I have infused with my life.
If I am a paraplegic and have to be kept on machines to live then I know that I will choose to compete even if it is for my last dying breath.