Since inception of 22Fresh in 2007, I've met many great customers who have turned into friends. I remember the start up phase of 22f and my addiction to providing a customer service level like no other. I made myself available via cell phone (at all hours) for every single customer that needed anything. I made some sacrifices in terms of time, but the relationships that were fostered leave me with no regrets. I've maintained relationships with kids overseas who are now all "grown up" and have families, I've talked life with high-school athletes who are now MLB All-Stars and I'll never forget some of the first customers who were our first true Brand Champions for 22Fresh. Taylor Burns, from Alberta, is one of those early adopters to whom I am forever grateful. I've followed his growth on and off the field with Social Media and I am happy to feature a piece he wrote for his own blog http://burnstrainingsystems.blogspot.ca/.
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An Open Letter to My 18 Year Old Self
Let me preface this by stating that the inspiration for writing this post came
from the fact that I have a number of players I am very close with about to
move on to the next level and play college baseball. A number of them
I have coached for multiple years (some even for over four). Even some
guys I only spent this past year or even just the semester with you truly
became a part of this group. I can't think of a better group of kids (whom
I've had the privilege of watching grow into young men) to have spent the
first years of my coaching career alongside of. With the end of this season
came the end of an era.
Speaking directly to you guys now, thank you. You have helped me in ways
you will never know nor understand. You guys were instrumental in helping
me get over my injury. Rather than writing all of you letters with advice I
thought I'd give the eighteen year old version of myself some words of
wisdom and perhaps that will suffice for all of you.
Your high school coach is going to leave you with one token of advice, "It's
going to go too fast." You will only sort of believe him. Well man, I'm here
to tell you that he's far too correct in that statement and it's going to go way
too quickly. The good news is you're about to have the best few years of
your life. Enjoy it. Soak it in and enjoy every little thing. The game itself,
competing, the random times just bullshitting with your teammates, 6 a.m.
swimming (well maybe don't enjoy that), the bus rides, and all the highs and
all the lows. You will yearn for all of this back when it's over.
Herein lies my first piece of advice for you, lighten up a bit. Don't take
everything so seriously. It won't be until your senior year that you really
figure this out and it won't be a coincidence that that's when you'll have the
most fun and forge the best friendships of all your time in college. Life's too
short to spend it angry about meaningless stuff. Trust me, you’re having the
time of your life so don’t waste any of it being angry and negative. When
guys bug you about being Canadian just laugh and don't get so offended.
Again, you'll figure this out in your third year but you'll wish you had done it earlier.
What you will miss the most is the camaraderie with the boys. Don’t take it
for granted that you have twenty or more brothers that will have your back
no matter what. You will sorely miss the random weeknights hanging with
the guys because there is always a teammate (or a few) who are down to
drink some beer and laugh about who knows what. Life after baseball isn’t
like that. Friends are going to go their separate ways and the sad reality is
you will only see each other on rare occasions. Do your best to enjoy all
those little moments because I can’t even put into words how much you will cherish them.
I'm not going to give you any pitching advice because you'll do just fine on
your own and you need to learn it yourself. We learn more from our failures
than our successes anyway and so you need to make mistakes and learn from
them. The one thing I will say is you cannot allow one bad outing to shake
the confidence you have in yourself. Learn from it and possess unwavering
belief the next time you take the mound
Pay attention to what the position players do at practice, and listen to what
your coaches talk to them about. Watch your coach run third base and pick
your teammates brains about stealing bases and hitting and defense. You’re
just a pitcher so you won’t see the need to do this too much but trust me,
you'll be really glad you did later on.
Lastly, don't be so afraid to fail. Worse things exist than pitching poorly.
The ironic thing is that your fear of failure will be what causes you to fail at
times. So get out of your own head and understand it's you versus you more
than anything else. I know you're terrified to fail because of how much you
invest but you need to flip that fear into enjoyment. The competition itself is
why you put in all the work you do so just believe in yourself.
Enjoy the battle and enjoy the grind. But most importantly, enjoy the ride!