Jeremy Affeldt Foundation
My baseball career began to take off when I gave it up, but long before that, my life changed after a chapel service in high school.
I was drafted out of high school, in the third round, by the Kansas City Royals. My pro career began as most do in the lower minor leagues.
After three years in A ball, I was frustrated. My career was not going the way I wanted it to. I had to give up my forkball because of the stress it placed on my arm; my curve ball had deserted me; and my fastball, the only pitch I had, was being tattooed. It definitely was not fun.
I was in Wilmington, Delaware, the Royals A ball affiliate. I was struggling. And I gave it up. I gave it to God. I came to grips with God, and told Him He could do whatever He wanted with my career. It was all in His hands.
Thats when things began to change. Oh, I didnt have instant success on the mound. In fact, that same year I set a league record for most losses. But thats the way God seems to work. He was more interested in me than my career.
After being sent to the instructional leauge where the coaches worked on the mechanics of my curve ball, I went to spring training with the Royals. I was sent to AA where I had a great year, and the next year I broke camp with the Royals.
I love being on the mound. Its the day that I consider my day of worship. While Im on the mound, I talk to God. We have a running conversation, and its so much fun to use the abilities God gave me to honor Him.
Wings of a Dove
Not all Ive done was honoring of God. In high school, I had an attitude problem. I had a rage problem. I would literally see red.
Sports helped me out of it. I had a basketball coach who told me I wouldnt ever play on one of his teams if I got two technical fouls. Before the official basketball season started, I got the first one. I knew I couldnt get another. I began to meet with an assistant coach, trying to work through my attitude problem.
One day, during chapel, we were singing White as Snow and I just started weeping uncontrollably. I was an athlete, and there I was weeping. My friends were looking at me, and I just walked out.
One of my buddies came out to me, and I told him I was tired of my attitude problem, and I was tired of rebelling, and I was tired of not feeling the presence of God. My buddy felt the same way. We started talking and confessing. We would get in trouble on the weekends, doing foolish stuff, and we were both ready to change.
On the flagpole was a dove. I felt it was looking at me all the while my buddy and I were talking. As we turned to walk away, I glanced at the dove. It looked at me, and took off. I knew what it was.
From that moment, I had a burning desire to change.
Nobody likes it when things are tough. Nobody likes going through the valleys. But thats where God works with us. Thats where God teaches us.
Ive had a few valleys, and God was with me. Ive learned to lean on Him even more. Now I want nothing more than to be in the presence of God, and pitch for His pleasure. Baseball can be taken from me at any time, because I love Jesus more than anything in the world.
Someday Id like to run a youth ministry. For now, my ministry is on a mound, pitching in the pleasure of God.
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