“What exactly do you do every day during the off-season, besides tweet, play video games, and watch TV?” You would be amazed as to how often that question is asked. The fact is, yes, I do that a lot. However, that only takes up a small percentage of my off-season. Preparation for the next season begins not too long after the current season ends. Sure, there’s time to re-charge the batteries. There’s also time to engage in activities to keep us well-rounded individuals. The beauty of being an athlete in most cases is that there is down time. I know many athletes that are artists, sculptors, web designers, etc. We can’t possibly be in the gym, practicing on the field, or conditioning at all times. It’s just impossible. That would be the equivalent of someone spending all day and night at the office behind the desk.
After a few weeks of re-charge time, the training begins for the next season. This is nearly impossible without looking forward in excitement for the next season. Just like with anything else, the task at hand is easier when there’s something to look forward to. I feel that athletes, regardless of skill level, have something to improve upon. Being honest with ourselves, and filtering out the many opinions we receive, is key to realizing our off-season goals. Alternating the lower body and upper body lifts, producing an effective conditioning work out, and sticking to a strict eating plan are some of the mandatory off-season regimens. The gyms, training rooms, and running tracks are far removed from the bright lights of the stadiums we play in. Putting the hard work in there translates to success on the field. When it gets tough, I remember the saying: “Never give up on something you can’t go a day without thinking about.”
I am currently in a phase of the off-season where much of my future is unknown. The sense of “what’s next” is heightened by the unknown world of free agency. My job is to train like I have a job, throw like I’ll be in spring training, and leave the rest to God. I truly believe that He is in control of my future, and the doors that open, or close, are all because of Him. Faith and belief, for me, have recently changed from HOPING that I can perform at the professional level to KNOWING that God has given me the gifts to perform at the professional level at this point in my life. It’s a great feeling.
Thank you all for the constant support and encouragement. I am blessed to have a platform from which to spread positivity, happiness, and share my career. On Twitter (@michael_schlact), I am blown away by your kind words. Thanks for reading what I write, listening to what I say, and understanding where I come from. While being a professional athlete truly is a dream come true, it’s also a tough lifestyle. Having people there for me throughout the journey makes it a bit easier! Until next time…
It’s been a while, folks. I thank you for keeping this blog in your thoughts, for checking it out again, and for continually supporting me. The reason for my latest delay is because I have started college. I am able to take classes from a state university online, and I figured the best time was now to start. As many of you know, I was drafted in 2004 out of high school and never stepped foot on a college campus. Four years seems daunting, but chipping away at it seems to be the most logical choice.
That being said, I’m getting older. 27 years old. In minor league free agent years that’s “look for a retirement home” old. That’s “life alert” old. That’s “eat dinner at 4:30″ old. Here’s the difference: I won’t give up. I’ve been through a lot in my 9+ year professional career, and I don’t plan to stop now. On Twitter, I get asked daily why I don’t just give it up. The answer is simple. I love what I do.
There comes a time when everyone in baseball goes from being pursued by teams to in pursuit of teams. My status has shifted. I’m okay with that. The route I must take nowadays is to e-mail GM’s, throw for scouts, prove my health, and make a lasting impression. The road is up hill for sure, but I’m prepared. We must thrive on adversity. We must never let it tear us apart. We must use adversity to make us stronger, teach us lessons, and we must allow it to provide us with the fuel necessary to continue.
I may not be the most talented pitcher left in the free agent market. I may not have the fame, notoriety, or MLB service time that others have. I’m certainly not a household name. What I do have, however, is heart, grit, determination, and an unwavering faith in God. I’m excited for each opportunity that I’m given, and I can’t wait to see what’s next. I have an amazing wife, a great family, and many friends and supporters that believe in me.
As I move forward in this free agency journey, I know that the road is long, windy, and sometimes bumpy. I know that I may not end up where I think I should be, but I know that I’ll end up where I’m meant to be. Your support via social media has been incredible, and I can’t thank you enough. Never give up. You’re more than likely much closer to success than you think. Until next time…