Hi everyone! Welcome to Behind the G! This is a Georgia Way platform that shares student-athlete stories, hobbies, and what is important to them. To the world, student-athletes are viewed by their outcomes in their sports, but they are so much more than that. Our goal is to share with the world in their own words who they are as people, and the numerous ways they represent the G on and off the field.
Dear younger me,
Not much has changed since you’ve gotten older about the way you see yourself. You still don’t like talking about yourself much. Even though you’re playing for an SEC school, you’re still humble enough to admit you’re just an above average ball player who’s had some undeserved opportunities. All in all, maybe these thoughts will help you grow.
To childhood me, enjoy the game of baseball like a kid should. Keep it a game. Make it fun every time you go in between those white lines. Try to get as dirty as possible and force your mom to wash your clothes every time you leave the field. Enjoy the times when you have no cares in the world and baseball is just a game. Enjoy the endless games of handball by the playground at the Madison County Rec. Department because, before you know it, responsibilities will be thrown on you along with baseball. Don’t grow up too fast.
To 12 year old me, make All-Stars in Cartersville, Georgia, one of the most fun experiences you’ve ever had, not just on the field but also off. Have fun sitting by the pool eating hamburgers and hot dogs after playing a game in 90-degree weather. Have fun waking up the next morning after throwing 100 pitches and not being stiff and sore because it’s not going to last forever. Have fun with your friends who happen to be your teammates too. Have fun playing the game and making memories.
To high school me, appreciate how lucky you are to have the ability to play baseball at such a high level. Appreciate the talents God blessed you with. Give back to those around you. Show your appreciation both for the game and for the people that have taught you to love the game. Appreciate the opportunity you have playing at Westminster Christian Academy–the countless bus rides and practices that seem so repetitive. Appreciate the platform you are given, knowing it is just the beginning. Appreciate the process of being recruited and understand how many other people would love to be in your shoes. Don’t take for granted the summers your family spends with you at the baseball fields. Appreciate how blessed you are to have come from the most unlikely of paths as a life-long homeschooler to playing at the university where you watched from the stands, idolizing players who were destined for the World Series. That choice to stay close to home has been one of the best decisions you will ever make. The experiences you will have at UGA will be like no other.
To me in my sophomore year of college, cherish the ride. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself and remember the days when it all was just a game. Cherish the beauty in the challenges of baseball. Don’t let the outcome of at-bats or outings dictate your love for the game. Remember, believe in yourself. You have put in the hours of work. Go out and play the game you love. Don’t let an injury that takes you out for the last half of the season be the thing that makes you realize just how much you cherish this game. Don’t push yourself through an injury thinking it will help the team win because it won’t work. Never forget the feeling of being in the stands during the last out of the season because you were too stubborn to admit your injury.
To me in my junior year of college, rekindle that love for the game. Rekindle that childish love for playing your sport and embrace your new challenges as a pitcher only (even when your ego tells you it means you’ve finally lost your athlete card). Rekindle a love of the times with your teammates turned brothers because, as we all know now, those times can be taken away ever so suddenly.
To present day me, I challenge myself to look back on my experiences that have led me here and learn from them. I challenge myself to remember the childish love for the game, the infinite hours spent in a car with my family, the life-long friends made from teammates. I challenge myself not only to remember them but let them know I’m thankful for each and every moment with them. I have truly been blessed both on the field and off, so let my words and actions reflect it.
I have been able to truly make my dreams come true through baseball. To my family, friends, teammates, Dawgnation, all the good and challenging times. I want to thank you for making me, me.
C.J. Smith — UGA Baseball