he's chasing dreams hitting seams.
she's chasing dreams talking sports.
I think I should start this post with saying I’ve been a Twitter troll. I’ve been that sports fan. Ya know the one that’s complaining about Butch Jones coaching or play calling or how Tennessee football is terrible…yeah, I’m the hot take queen. Or at least I used to be.
I’ve always been a sports fan. I mean I have a degree in journalism and did seven internships in college all in sports. I covered Texas high school football for two seasons out of college. I’ll always be invested in sports, I’ll always tell sports stories and I’ll probably always have hot takes.
But I will say watching Matt play at the highest level in his sport and seeing the criticism has changed my hot take heart a little bit. Now I have journalistic integrity and I know what to say and what not to say, but being at this level has made me second guess tweeting out a sports hot take. For the sole reason is all of these athletes have families. This is their job. They don’t want to go out and make mistakes or just flat out suck sometimes, but it happens. (I’m not meaning to sound soft. I’m just being honest in how my heart has changed on this a little.)
I thought about putting some tweets here that I’ve seen about Matt. But then I thought nah, I don’t want to give those people attention. And I already want to have a section at the end of my book one day dedicated to the haters. :) Now is not the time.
I’ve thought labeling prospects is a dumb concept for as long as I can remember. But I never thought I could really write that because Matt wasn’t on a prospect list. BUT now he is AND guess what…I still think labeling prospects is dumb. And now I’m going to write why I think that.
In sports, prospects are labeled all the time, but in baseball labeling prospects is most common because there are so many minor league players.
Usually each MLB organization has a list of 30 prospects then there is a Top 100 prospects list, which is just the top 100 players throughout the entire minors.
First things first — according to Wikipedia, “a prospect is any player whose rights are owned by a professional team, but who has yet to play a game for the team, or is not established with the team yet.”
Second thing, you’re probably wondering who makes these prospects lists. So Baseball America and MLB Pipeline each make lists. Baseball writers are the main people who are making these lists.
And I’m here to say as a writer I’m not dissing those writers who make the lists. I’ll be the first to tell you I think it’s so cool that Matt is on the prospect list — mainly because he earned it/deserves the recognition. But that also doesn’t mean I still can’t think labeling is dumb.
I will say though I would love to know how many of the people making the lists have actually seen Matt (or a majority of players on the list/considered for the list) play a game of baseball. Sure they’ve watched him on film, right? But that’s minimum to me to get the whole picture of what kind of player he is. And again I know they’ve done their research and definitely know what they’re talking about. They really go off numbers — especially with someone like Matt.
But anyway, the people making the lists aren’t the point of this post.
I went to my first Vols game when I was in the womb.
I’ve probably said that too many times in my life— some take the line as a joke. I see it as a big part of trying to get people to understand the point I’m about to make.
You know who else took his first trip to Neyland in the womb? My brother.
My Grandaddy has had four Tennessee season tickets since 1985. Row four in the corner of the north end zone with a perfect view of the Running through the T.
My grandparents co-owned Big Orange Kountry — a Tennessee team store — for most of my childhood. I remember loving when new gear came in, and my Memaw would say we didn’t need it. But would usually get it for Christmas. One of my favorite days of the year was “The Big Day” where orange tents would be outside Big Orange Kountry. Food, drinks, sales on Tennessee gear, friends and family flooded the tents outside.
My brother, our two cousins and I grew up getting to choose which Tennessee games we wanted to go to each season. We’d make the trek to Knoxville from West Tennessee in the white van with orange stripes, Tennessee flags on the windows and Tennessee magnets on the sides. We’d get to our parking spot and set up our little tailgate with sandwiches, chips and dip, you name it. Then the Vol walk. We would be in our seats a couple hours before kickoff, and that’s just how we liked our game day to go.
Your parents paid your playing fee…here is your trophy.
You played two games this season…here is your trophy.
You finished first place…here is your trophy.
I’ll never understand participation trophies, and where participation trophies worry me the most is in younger kids.
In the feature picture of this post, I received my first trophy. It was after my first T-ball season, and I was clearly so happy. Then it might have been about the trophy.
(But look at those dirt spots on my pants. Diving in T-ball...who does that...a kid whose mom and dad weren't hitting the ball right at her in the backyard just so she could catch it I guess.)
But anyway as I got older, I can assure you winning was not about the trophy.
Winning was about all the hard work, practices, sprints and late night shooting/hitting paying off. BEING FIRST…that’s what winning was about to me.
Now that I’m out of team sports, “winning” is about being the best. Writing the best story. Getting the best interview. “Winning” is not about getting a pat on the back for finishing the job task. “Winning” is about proving myself. “Winning” is about hating to lose, and letting that drive me.
On Saturday, June 25, the hashtag #PrayForPat was trending on Twitter. I clicked on the hashtag to find thousands of people tweeting about Pat Summitt being in the hospital and friends and family were preparing to say goodbyes.
Not seeing anything written or posted by any official news source, I kind of denied her condition was that bad. On Sunday, I woke to see several Knoxville news outlets and the Tennessean with confirmation the end was near.
Since Sunday, each time I checked the news or social media I was bracing to see the news. Well, this morning that happened.
I’ve never been the type of person who obsessed over “celebrities,” athletes, etc. But I have a very short list of people I would “fan girl” over if I met them in person. These people aren’t on my list just because they are successful athletes or professionals in their fields but because I view them as role models.
Pat Summitt is one of those people on my list.
She is the only person on my list I have been privileged to meet so far. And boy, did I fan girl. HARD. I remember standing in line for over an hour just sweating with her newest book (Sum It Up) in my hand. The book I downloaded first on my kindle (because I only buy books I will want to keep forever), read in a little over a day then bought a hard copy, so I could have her sign at it at a book signing in Nashville. While we were standing in line, the people in charge were telling us to not “chit-chat” with her to keep the line moving and because this was after she had been diagnosed. I remember thinking, “Are you kidding me?! This will probably be my only chance to get face time with Pat Summitt. I will chit-chat it up if I want.” I remember looking at my sweaty palms, questioning what I could say to be cool about it. It was my turn in line, and she looked at me and waved me over like she did with each person. I shook her hand, and she looked me in the eyes with those ever-so-famous blue eyes and said, “I like a girl with a hard hand shake.” I think I melted right there. I handed her the book. As she was signing it, she asked what I thought about it. I told her I read it in a little over a day, and I especially loved all the Martin references because I was from Dresden. She stopped mid sign, looked up at me, smiled real big and said, “I know where that is.” I started rambling about things I don’t even remember now, but she just nodded along while she finished signing. She asked what I was studying in school, and I said journalism with dreams to work in sports. She asked what I thought about zone defense, and I told her I hated it. Then Pat Summitt looked at me and said, “You’re my kind of girl.” In that short probably two minute exchange, Pat Summitt made me feel like we were best friends. She made me so pumped to keep chasing my dreams. And just to think that was while she was battling the awful disease that took her life this morning. But every story I’ve read or listened on the radio today, she made everyone feel that way.
Matt & Jesica Beaty
Welcome in to dreams and seams! A tell-all blog about our career dreams and path to reaching those dreams with some commentary about sports and life plus some videos too.
"Strive for the impossible because it makes the possible seem effortless." -Matt Beaty