What’s YOUR Ambition?

“Ambition is priceless; it’s something that’s in your veins.”

“Ambition,” a song released this year by Wale, promotes a positive attitude, one of belief not just dreaming. YOUR Boise Hawk, Rock Shoulders had it picked as his original walk-up song while Giavanni Ruffin has an inspirational documentary on YouTube titled “MY Ambition.” The video starts off with “Ambition” playing in the background as pictures of Giavanni’s High School diploma slide by along with his college acceptance letter and the 2010 Most Improved Player Award from East Carolina University. Giavanni says that he doesn’t want to just be an athlete; he wants to be a motivator and help kids, and adults, realize they should never give up. His ambition starts with his goals and believing, not just dreaming, wanting to help others and never taking a day off. The documentary sends a positive message and I encourage everyone to watch it but also, ask yourself, “What is MY ambition?”

Dan Vogelbach, YOUR Boise Hawks 2012 MVP, is a guy with great ambition. His mother, Jennie, works with the Special Olympics and has been an inspiration to Dan, igniting the dream to start his own little league for disabled children. Dan says that he is always around the kids for the Special Olympics and it makes you realize just how good we actually have it. “The little things we take advantage of makes their day! I want to make them happy, they love playing sports, getting out, and being around each other. They don’t care about winning or about who has the nicest stuff; all they care about is having fun and getting a chance to do what they never had the chance to do!”

Being around the children is a huge eye opener for anyone who is capable of fulfilling their dreams. “I want people to realize how good we have it and that just when you think you have it bad you need to look around and find a way to put a smile on your face! Because that’s what these people do, day in and day out they are happy!” During his time here with YOUR Boise Hawks it was obvious to see Dan’s attitude towards life leap out onto the field and take hold of his teammates. He was a positive inspiration to the team and will be to others in the future.

Going back to YOUR Boise Hawk, Rock Shoulders, it is not about the money, it is about baseball. While Rock admits that money is a plus, it is not why he plays the game. I asked Rock what the song “Ambition” meant to him and why he picked it as his walk-up song. “I picked it just because Wale talks about how he doesn’t care about the money anymore, he is just rapping for the love of it. Like me, I want to make it to the pros and play on the big stage because I love the game.” Rock started his ambitious routine at a young age hitting and practicing with his dad, and since high school, “working out … a lot.”

Ambition, it’s not about where you come from, what you or your family has, it’s about heart.

Life and Baseball

Image

What is baseball? To some people baseball comes off as boring, slow and “easy,” lacking both physical contact and physical ability. To others it is just a bat, a ball, two teams and a field. To me it is a tradition. It is entertainment and family fun, and for the most part, affordable. To me it is a bat, a ball, two teams and a field but it is also the ONE sport that time CAN’T touch. There is no clock counting down time to the end of the game, it is timeless. The ball is pitched, the batter swings, it’s a hit, a strike or an out, and the round-a-bout routine keeps going. The game is played until it is all said and done. Faith, hope, blood, sweat and tears are all poured into this sport just like any other … and life.

As I like to say, “They say there is no crying in baseball, so how come it is the only sport that can make me cry?” You never know what’s going to happen. It is like life in that sense. First you are up and then you are down. You put your all into one thing. One moment you are cheering for the good and then you get down on the bad, but win or lose you keep going. There is no giving up; you fight until the final out, whether that is in the 9th inning or the 20th. In life it is the same, you take the good with the bad, cheer for the good times and cry for the sad but you keep going.

Growing up I loved watching my big brother and cousins playing ball, as well as my grandpap in church league ball, the oldest player on the team and MVP. It was as much inspirational as it was fun. It was something I felt like I always shared with them. At the time it obviously taught me nothing. I was just a young girl running around a ball park, but looking back is when it all hits you. The importance of being committed to something, having fun, finding the passion and pushing through any struggle that may arise.

Watching the young fans this summer brought back a million memories. For our host families there is already that connect. The memories, the players, the staff, family time, etc, they come to most all of the games and cheer on their “host sons and brothers.” For the other children in the ballpark there was a glimpse of what memories could be made. Coming to the ballpark is more than just the boys on the field or the stadium the game is being played in. I don’t want anyone to miss what is taking place at the ballpark because they are too focused on what a new stadium might be like or what a winning team feels like.

Just like my description of baseball, Memorial Stadium, as well as any other, can be described in a million ways. To some Memorial Stadium may be run down, old and boring but to others, like me, it is not what you see from the outside that matters. The stadium is like a human, the importance doesn’t lie on the looks of the outside, it lies in what is happening on the inside. The walls may be old, your seats may be in the sun, but the memories are what matter most, the player/fan interaction, the hotdog slingshot, the Kids Park, fireworks, etc. In the moment it’s not as clear, but like I said, it is when you look back that things hit you. I don’t remember what the walls looked like, how comfortable the seats were or how the field compared to others. I don’t even remember who won what game, or whether or not the team I was cheering for was a winning or losing team. What I do remember is cheering for my brother as he hit a homerun, clapping as my grandpap rounded the bases, and the forts my friends and I made in the woods around the ballpark, that is what matters most, the lifetime memories. The flaws of the stadium are not flaws at all; they simply add character to the place and the experience itself. I urge you to look past the materialistic makeup of what is around you and instead, think about what is going on inside.

Opportunity Cost: Taking the Risk or Playing it Safe

What is there to gain by leaving home, going after something undiscovered, trying something new, simply putting yourself out there? My answer, friends, family, experience, memories that last a lifetime, and maybe, if I’m lucky, a job. I guess we never know what is to come when we step out the door and try something new, but no matter how big the battle or stretch, we never find out without taking that first step. A journey of a thousand miles, or in my case, three thousand miles, begins with just one step, one chance and one opportunity.

In this situation I am talking about my trip to Dallas, Texas which ended up bringing me here to Boise, Idaho where I have done exactly what I previously mentioned. I took one step, left home, put myself out there, tried something new and gained friends, “family,” experience and memories that will last a lifetime. The job is still in the making, but either way this experience has led me in the right direction and has made me a stronger person.

I, along with three other co-workers, made the trip. We took the journey to Dallas, Texas, and then to Boise, Idaho to see what we could become (thanks to Dave Sappelt for the tweet, #WhatCanUBecome). And here are our stories.

Jake Abbott left home, Chehalis, Washington and went to the 2011 Winter Meetings in Dallas, Texas knowing that he wasn’t done with school until June and the job market for that time period would be twice as competitive. One of his previous co-workers, with the Tacoma Rainiers, told him that it was the best experience and opportunity out there in the baseball industry. Jake put in 25-30 resumes and had just 4 interviews. However, out of the 4 interviews, he got the seasonal internship with YOUR Boise Hawks as the Event Operations and Marketing Coordinator. Jake is glad that he took the risk and made the journey because there would have been “what if’s” if he hadn’t. His peak of the season was simply being in the press box and seeing everyone’s hard work on display. The hard part of the journey is knowing that he might not be here post-season and he will have to go through the whole routine again. At the same time, this excites him because he will be going into it with much more experience and more defined goals. “Great things happen to those who are motivated and proactive, find the passion and chase the dream.”

Thomas Wolff moved from Modesto, California for a chance at a career in baseball. He also went to the Winter Meetings in Dallas, Texas where he took the job with YOUR Boise Hawks as a Ticket Sales Executive. Thomas moved out here on January 2 and at that point was the farthest he had ever lived from home. Thomas lived just an hour away from home when he was in college, so this was a change. “I was offered over 10 jobs, strewn across the country from Alabama to Washington, Cleveland to California. I had plenty of great options yet the Hawks were the best. The comfort of friends and family is great but sometimes you have to step out of your comfort zone, take some risks and make the move that is best for your future. Boise and the Hawks were that move.”

My story was a bit rushed. I had had a horrible two months and decided last second to go to the Winter Meetings. Going to the meetings had been my goal for a couple of years but I let my fiancé (at the time) keep me where I was. My grandfather, my best friend, passed away in October. I took it hard and went on a downward spiral for a month or so. Take it for what it’s worth, but I was in a car accident in November, my fiancé and I broke up a couple days later, and a week after that I was online signing up for the meetings. I am not telling a sob story, I am speaking about how the best possibility came from the worst situation. I put in 12 resumes and had 10 interviews. I chose YOUR Boise Hawks and moved out here 4 days after graduating college. I didn’t realize quite how far away from home I’d be but in the end I couldn’t have asked for a better learning experience. I, like Jake, have a better defined list of goals and experiences and am more than ready for the direction I am heading these days. My point being that no matter what struggle you are going through you still have to make things happen for yourself and just DO IT!

I think this idea started rolling after reading an email from my grandmother this morning. She mentioned my cousin, Kevin, who shares a love for baseball, and in his case, sports in general. “I wish some of your ambition and self-confidence would rub off, he doesn’t have the drive you have to go after what you want.” I replied by saying that everyone has it in them; it is just finding the strength to DO IT. My strength was not found in times of joy, and I didn’t always have the ambition to do something like this, this meaning packing my life up and moving 3,000 miles from home. But I found it. I encourage everyone to look deep inside and go after what they want, whether you are 10 years old or 60, or in a great or not so great situation. My co-workers will laugh, but don’t let anyone steal your sparkle! I kind of live by that!

To Kevin: Search inside for your goals and ambition and DO IT! Don’t be shy and don’t let anyone say you can’t, and when they do, turn it into a positive and keep going! Stay strong and be happy! Continue to make your mother proud. Love You!

#WhatCanUBecome

Image

It’s been just one week since YOUR Boise Hawks left Boise for home. For some it had been a year since they had seen their families and for others a few months, but in either case YOUR Boise Hawks were looking forward to seeing their friends, family and getting the taste of a home cooked meal. In the short time the boys have been home, they have lived it up hitting the beach with the boys, taking the parents out to dinner, and playing with the niece and/or pups. While some of the boys went home knowing that they didn’t have to leave again until spring training, others knew that they had just one week with their friends and family before they would be back in Arizona for instructs.

For a lot of our young guys the day of travel came yesterday as they left their families once again to leave for Arizona. Today, September 17, 2012 begins the 2012 Instructional League for our young cubbies. Twitter has already flowed with their travel experiences and excitement to be back with some of their friends and teammates.

The Instructional League will start off with the normal one-on-one instruction, practice, with actual games beginning September 21. With YOUR 2012 Boise Hawks being the youngest team in their league, the Instructional League gives them the time, coaches and tools to look into specific aspects of their game and prepare for the next season. YOUR Boise Hawks participants include Jose Arias, Nathan Dorris, Pierce Johnson, Juan Paniagua, Willson Contreras, Justin Marra, Lance Rymel, Gioskar Amaya, Stephen Bruno, Jeimer Candelario, Marco Hernandez, Dan Vogelbach, Albert Almora, Trey Martin and Carlos Escobar (half of the final Boise Hawks 2012 roster).

Before I was able to talk to any of the guys there was one tweet that caught my eye from Chicago Cub, Dave Sappelt, “Just took BP with Albert Almora, the man’s looking good. #WhatCanUBecome.” Seems like a compliment on talent from someone who has already made it to the “Bigs.” What will these guys become? I will keep you updated throughout the post-season and on …

Here are a few updates on some of YOUR 2012 Boise Hawks

Carlos Escobar never got to go home. He was sent to Arizona for rehab just before the playoffs were over and will be participating in the Instructional League but not for another two weeks while he waits for his ankle to heal.

Rock Shoulders flew home, spent two days with his family and then went to Orlando to visit his friends. He also seemed to enjoy the time home with his pups! He will not be going to the Instructional League this season.

Ian Dickson was quickly thrown into college courses as he works to finish his degree. He has 12 weeks left in this “semester,” and will finish his degree in a future off season. Ian just celebrated his birthday September 16 and will not be in the Instructional League this season.

Eddie Orozco has enjoyed his family more than anything as well as his friends. He has found it hard to take his attention off of his niece but has still managed to make it to the gym and make time to hangout with friends. Eddie will not be in the Instructional League this season.

James Pugliese has been hanging out with his friends and family and enjoying his home cooked meals, although he says he misses Judy’s home cooked meals as well. He will be going to sign up for a class today, September 17, and will start lifting and running this week. “I’m excited.”

Bijan Rademacher was only with us for a short time in Boise but I figured we could use an update on him as well. He is currently in the Instructional League after finishing his season and spending a week at home. He had the chance to spend time with his family and work on his game before reporting to instructs. “I didn’t play as well as I had hoped but overall I look at my first season in pro ball as a success.”

Michael Heesch was caught off guard when I asked if he would be able to read to the children for KeyBank Reading Tree tomorrow, his response, “We could do it over FaceTime.” He is doing great and just as caring now as he was when he was still in Boise. I caught him on his way back from a fishing trip with his father. “It is nice being with my family, I miss playing every day though.”

Hayden Simpson has been spending plenty of time with his friends and family but Rianne Herron, his fiancé, seems to be most excited about his time home. “It’s been amazing to have him back home! He’s finally got to spend time with his soon-to-be niece. She was born at the end of April and he’s finally getting a chance to see her and spend time with her. His entire family and mine are so happy he’s back home for a while and having him back has taken a lot of stress from planning the wedding off of me! Plus it’s nice to be able to go on a date that doesn’t include a computer, Skype, or FaceTime.” The happy couple will get married before spring training on December 15, 2012.

Some will become graduates, some husbands and others uncles but they all will be returning to Spring Training 2013 and taking the next step in their journey to the Big’s figuring out just what they can become! I wish them all the best of luck in all they do and fans, I will continue to keep you updated as there is more to report.

Itching for the Big Leagues

YOUR Boise Hawks have had a great season here with the Cubs organization but what lies ahead is what may be on the minds of fans. Many of the boys have already started to tweet pictures of their bags packed and ready as well as talking about getting home. Where will YOUR Boise Hawks be this fall and winter or even next year? I plan to keep in touch and let you all know what lies ahead for YOUR Boise Hawks but for now I want to see what these guys are waiting for most at home.

For Tayler Scott, from South Africa, it is the food. He has been lucky enough to have his family here to support him this season but he misses the food in South Africa. “Won’t be home until December, but looking forward to the food and I’ll probably go eat first thing!” His go to food here is chicken but at home he enjoys the seafood most.

Eddie Orozco, from California, is all about family, family first all of the time. “Looking forward to seeing all of my loved ones number one. My bed. California. First thing I’m going to do off the plane is go to In n Out on my way home to see everyone. No fall ball for me just gotta show up to spring training.” Orozco loves baseball and what he does on and off of the field, but missing his family and missing out on his niece growing up is the hard part.

Rock Shoulders, from Florida, also misses family time. “I am looking forward to seeing my family the most so the first thing I’m going to do is take my dad and mom out to dinner.” He has also planned a few beach trips and possibly a cruise with his close friends.

Trey Martin, from Georgia, can’t wait to get back to family and food. “Eating Zaxby’s, Atlanta’s Best Wings. Seeing family and friends. The first thing is to beat my little brother in FIFA and I will be in the instructional Arizona League this fall.”

Fall ball or no fall ball these guys will be back whether it is here in Boise or with another team. I will keep you all updated from my blog throughout the offseason if you would like updates visit highheelsandhighlights.wordpress.com.

Thank you all for a great season and I look forward to keeping in touch!

-Courtney

YOUR 2012 BOISE HAWK AWARD WINNERS

Image

At Saturday night’s game we announced the MVP, Cy Young and Community Players of the Year. We ended up having 2 MVP’s, Daniel Vogelbach and Stephen Bruno, Cy Young, Tayler Scott, and 2 Community Players of the Year, Michael Heesch and Eddie Orozco.

Bruno and Vogelbach were fortunate enough to have their father’s here to share in the moment receiving their awards and were both happy to accept them. Bruno’s father, Steve Bruno, said that he feels very privileged for the opportunity that the Cubs have given his son.

Scott had one of the best season’s anyone could ask for and was also lucky to have his parents here to see him receive his award. He is a young player from South Africa who moved to the states, alone, when he was just 16 years old. His mother and father have been here to support him throughout most of the season. “It felt great winning it my first year with the Cubs. Couldn’t ask for a better season and I’m grateful and excited to have won the Cy Young this year.”

Elizabeth Griffin and I had the opportunity to award a Community Player of the Year award but we weren’t able to pick just one. We had 2 guys who were always willing to go on appearances, offered to do autographs and read for the KeyBank Reading Tree events. Not only were they willing to make the appearance but they did it with smiles on their face and positive attitudes. It was always apparent that they wanted to be working with the children and talking with fans! Michael Heesch and Eddie Orozco stole the hearts of many, especially one little boy, Phoenix, who I liked to call their “biggest fan” at the KeyBank Reading Tree events.

“It’s an honor to receive an award for the off the field aspect of this game because we are in a position, as players, to go out and positively influence the lives of others as well as give back to the community that is supporting us. This award shows the positive influence of my family and UCR on my life to go out and give back to the others and the community and it’s something that I really enjoy to do.” Orozco has a 7 ½ month niece at home he is anxious to get back to as well as his mother, brother, 2 sisters, a brother-in-law and a sister-in-law.

Tonight is the start of the best-of-three Northwest League East Divisional Series. We take on the Yakima Bears in hopes of winning the first series and moving forward to the final championship!