Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Well folks, I'm back for some more fun. Since my last post (thank you to everyone who responded by the way) I have completed my third marathon down in Miami in 4:07. It was a fun time and I am looking forward to number four in just under a month up in Albany, NY. I was thinking after I got back to my hotel and nearly passed out from exhaustion post race, that perhaps I am a little off my rocker for trying to do so much so quickly. I mean, not even marathoners run 10 in a year, and most of them don't mix in a 50 miler or two along the way. And to top it all off, they are professionals; they don't look or feel like me after a race, it's not this hard. So why the hell am I doing all this then?

I want it. I want to do this; it makes me feel good, I feel healthy and clean and happy. I wouldn't do it if I truly didn't want to. I know there are probably a good amount of negatives some psychologist could probably come up with here, like activity addiction, masochism, some type of obsessive compulsion, so on so forth. But the fact is, I am not doing any of this blindly. I am training, preparing, recovering, progressing, learning, I am going about all of this as professionally as I know how. I am just very driven.

So I know this goes in line with my last post, with what motivates you. But "drive" is a very interesting thing, a whole different monster if you will. I think that motivation is what starts you on your path, what gets you going and moving, the kick in the butt to send you on your way and then supplies little kicks as you continue. Drive would be defined to me as just purely wanting something. I think it is an "ends" rather than an inspiration, a vision of what you want, where you want to be, rather than a push or a shove. I guess what I am saying is that perhaps the final goal is what drives, then there are personal motivators that keep you going.

But sometimes, sometimes the two are one and the same. The goal becomes the one and only source for you to achieve the goal and when this happens, I am quite convinced it is close to impossible to be stopped.

I'll tell you all a story about my road to professional baseball. Now mind you, I have not told this to many people, just like the last post, it is something I like to keep to myself because it is mine. With this one especially though, I feel weird talking about it because it almost feels like bragging. But along the way, with the few people I have told, I have gotten feedback that this is one of those stories that should be written down, or put in a movie or something. So, here you go; I tell this humbly and with the greatest respect to the game that I loved more than anything in the world (to my detriment sometimes). (I still love it way too much by the way)

I had a pretty good college career. I got accepted to all the schools I applied to, and more, and had the opportunity to play at some great Division 1 schools. While I stood out as a relief pitcher for my final three years of college, I was used very sparingly throughout the entirety of the season and when the draft came around, I was overlooked. This didn't really come as a surprise, seeing how other relievers being drafted had 30-40 appearances, 10 or more saves and ERA's around 1.something-low. And I was hovering around 3 with the ERA, had 20 or so appearances and 5 or 7 saves. But I was in the record books at Siena College, and I played exceptionally well against top schools, so I hoped for the best, as I always did.

But when nothing happened I took it upon myself to make it, somehow I would make it. I joined a team up in Jersey with a friend of mine, threw every day and called... I must have called 500 people over the course of May and June after graduation. I called minor league teams, major league teams, independent teams, international teams, scouting agencies, it just never stopped. Through all this, I learned a ton about how calling does pretty much nothing but introduce you to people.; which was something to me.

Then the tryouts started. My calls were replaced by tryouts. Once a week practically, I would drive out in the morning to some high school or college field somewhere in Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and other states, even up to Massachusetts. I would wait around, pay a small fee, stretch and throw and throw a 20-pitch bullpen. Afterwards I would approach the scouts, introduce myself and ask for feedback. And every time, the same answer: "You throw the ball real well son, but because you're not a power guy, we just have no proof that you can get outs. We need to see you against hitters".

But I wasn't on a team! How could they see me if I couldn't play? I kept throwing out the college achievements, but they would tell me that that's college, that's over, you need to prove you can get the big guns out. I had nothing else to do but keep trying, hoping that someone would give me a chance. But no one would, nobody wanted to risk it. finally though, my friend, and a man who has helped a great deal throughout my career, found me a job in France. It wasn't very glamorous, it payed next to nothing (I lost money just on the plane ticket alone, not counting food while I was there), but it was professional baseball, and that meant I would become marketable if I could put up some decent numbers. So I went.

I played about 8 games; 2 each weekend. I pitched 4, and hit all the rest. It was fun, I learned a lot, it wasn't very good, but that was good for me, I did very, very well. And I worked my butt off. There were, like I said, two games every weekend, and two practices every week. But because it was just like a club sport to the Frnech, people didn't show up to practice, what was the motivation after all? I needed this though, and I would always be there as early as possible. I would also train every day there was nothing, and usually would be at the field a few hours before practice started to get my exercises in. I would run, do sprints, do agility drills and plyometrics on and around the track by the field. I would carry around these 2-liter water bottles everywhere, and after I ran I would fill them up and perform my shoulder exercises with them. A few times I would take the subway out to a park, hide a small bag with clothes in the bushes and go work out in the park. I just never wanted a day off, I needed to do well. My determination and love for the game rubbed off a little too. I coached the younger teams once a week and even though I couldn't speak a lick of French, and they couldn't speak any English, I really had an impact on the kids and was even asked to help coach the team when they made the playoffs. When I returned, I knew that this time around, when I went to the tryouts, and talked to the scouts and coaches, I would have something to sell myself with. I got great feedback from my friend who was helping me and soon enough I had offers to play the entire season in France, and two separate offers to play in Australia. But we both decided, along with help from my Dad, Mom, and girlfriend at the time, that I would stay put and try my luck in America. I wanted this bad. And I had about four months of winter to get better.

- Story to be concluded later (ha, ha, I am building anticipation!! Will he make it?! Will his dreams come crashing down on him?! Wait and see!) -

No, I just don't want to post an insanely long post is all.

Never Quit, GET FIT

Josh Courage

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