Three strikes and you’re out! Isn’t that the most basic rule in baseball?
In the legal world, in some cases you get three strikes against you before you pay the biggest consequence.
Isn’t there an unwritten rule that says if you try out for the high school baseball team and get cut your first three years of school that you hang up the cleats and not try out your senior year? (The ol’ three-cuts-and-you’re-done rule!)
Well, Coulton Sadler forgot that rule. Each of the first three years he tried out for the high school baseball team he was cut.
Three years he went to try out for the high school baseball team and all three years he tried out, he was cut.
Most kids would then donate their bat and glove to the local little league team. Not Coulton. He bought some more glove oil and a new batting glove and went to work.
Even during the summer months, when all the other high school kids were sleeping in, Coulton and I would go to the baseball diamond at 6 a.m. and we practiced together. It was great father-and son-time, said his dad, Bob.
Coulton is the perfect example of not giving up.
Hard work, discipline and commitment were his motto.”I knew I could play at that level,” Coulton told me. “I had the ability, I just needed the opportunity.”
His dad kept asking him, “What do you want to do?” after each time he was cut. Coulton never lost hope.
“Michael Jordan got cut from his high school team,” he answered his dad. “I’m going to make varsity.”
He loved baseball so much that he got a job at Inside Pitch, a batting cage and baseball practice facility.
It was there he got his break. The owner (Fred Speck) was the assistant coach at Pinnacle High School. Speck grew to appreciate Coulton as a hard worker and a person. He invited Coulton to transfer schools and try out for his team.
“Here’s my chance,” Coulton thought.
He tried out and made the team. He played second base and sometimes came off the bench as a pinch hitter. He didn’t care; he was on the team! He finished the year with a .330 batting average.
One of his highlights was going 2 for 3 against the high school that cut him three years in a row.
Pinnacle made it to the state playoffs. It won its first game, then was knocked out of the playoffs in its second game. Coulton’s last at-bat at their come-from-behind rally was a two run triple to left-center.
“I really smacked that one pretty good, didn’t I?” Coulton said to his dad on their drive home.
Getting that varsity letter was a great feeling, but nothing compared to the award he received at the awards banquet.
He was given the Pinnacle Award, given to the player who best exemplifies dedication, commitment and coachability.
Thank you, Coulton Sadler, for your model of determination, hard work and a coachable attitude.
If you continue your life journey in this same spirit, you are destined for great things. Who knows, you may even be president some day. It may take three elections to get there, but I don’t think that will be a problem for Coulton Sadler. Just because you have three strikes against you, doesn’t mean you’re out of the game.
If you have questions or comments for Tom Kuyper, e-mail him at email@example.com.