Written by QCMHA Speakers Coordinator Evan Bertoia
Throughout my childhood and teen years, baseball meant everything to me. I would wake up thinking about how I could improve my game, get stronger, or provide myself with the best opportunity to play at the highest level. Especially during the pandemic, baseball was like a safe space to me - something I could always count on to be normal, during a time where everything was about as far from normal as it could be. Though everything was going great, one day, it all came crashing down on me.
Right before I was about to experience the biggest opportunity of my career, a significant injury put everything to a halt, leaving me sidelined and at a mental/physical roadblock. After this, baseball slowly started to slip out of my life. Every time I played, I hated it, and was in so much pain that I wanted to just walk away from it all. It left me in a tough position; do I push through something I’m resenting every day or walk away from something I’ve invested my whole life in?
Ultimately, my choice was to walk away. I couldn’t continue putting myself through so much stress. It was holding me back in many ways, and it was starting to impact other areas of my life, especially my mental health. Everywhere I went and everything I did, it felt like it was never good enough. I couldn’t let it go. I felt like I disappointed so many people that I deeply cared for, along with thoughts that I had no path in life anymore, which was a huge burden that I carried with me for a long time.
One thing my parents have always told me is that everything happens for a reason. It’s not easy to see it in the moment, but once it all comes together, you’ll understand why you had to go through what you did. At the time, I thought it was just something they said to make me feel better. I felt helpless. However, with Canadian University applications quickly approaching, I knew I had to find a new path. I applied to many different schools, impatiently waiting to hear back. During the waiting period, I felt like I had something to work towards, which kept me sane while dealing with the lifestyle and career path change I was going through.
As acceptances finally rolled out, I received the news that I got into Queen’s, which felt like a huge weight being lifted off my shoulders. I quickly accepted, feeling like maybe what my parents told me before held a little more truth than I realized. Ever since that day, it seems like the pieces of me that fell apart after letting go of pursuing a scholarship to a U.S. school for baseball were being picked up and put right back into place with this brand new opportunity.
If you told 14 year old me that I wasn’t in the MLB, I would’ve been distraught. But life is full of changes, some MUCH bigger than others. This was a huge change for me, one that hurt a lot at the time, but one that I now appreciate every single day. My time at Queen’s has been incredible so far, making me look back and realize that maybe everything truly does happen for a reason. And hey, I even decided to join the baseball team again, to keep that little spark inside of me alive.
Time will heal, you just have to trust it.