The life of a Division 3 baseball player might be the most mentally challenging of all levels. Those of us who understand the struggle of hustling from class to class and then to practice, get it. For myself, I followed in the footsteps of my father and sister. Both of them took the journey to Division 3, with both of them being soccer players. Hearing their stories and the lifelong friendships that were forged, made me know college baseball was where I wanted to be.
I always knew that if I got the chance to play collegiate baseball, I would; no questions asked. I was lucky enough to have that dream come true all-be-it the JUCO level. Long story short, it was a disaster. Then came along Millsaps College a small, liberal arts college in Jackson, Mississippi. This lowly Division 3 School. Here I am thinking “No way I’m too good for that.” I was convinced to take a visit, and I absolutely fell in love with the place. I went there thinking, sure I will do this as a courtesy, man was I wrong. Never in a million years did I think that I would want to play at the Division 3 level. Being from South Carolina, it was either University of South Carolina or Clemson. As soon as I stepped foot on campus I knew it was home. The passion, the heart, the determination, the desire everyone had was something I knew was something I had to be a part of (clinching a birth to the D3 World Series on my visit didn’t hurt the process either).
For those of you who don’t know, we D3 guys and gals don’t do it for the fame or potential fortune. It’s simply for the love of the game. With the exception of the very rare situation of one of us being drafted, much less pull a Jordan Zimmerman and make it to the big leagues, then sign a 100 million dollar plus contract on top of that. People look down on us D3 players and assume we must suck. We may not have the Friday night guy that’s going to pump 92-94 for seven innings, but our guy is going to sit mid 80’s and then screw you in the ground when he pulls the string on that change-up. We as players know the grit and grind. No scholarships and the class schedule that’s prepping us for the operating room or to be the next lawyer for O.J. Simpson.
The Division 3 route is not for everyone, we have to be willing to work our ass off on the field and probably working even harder when we step foot in that dreadful Intermediate Accounting 2 class or the even more dreaded O-Chem. We walk into class the first day of freshman year knowing we have four years left, that’s it, no redshirts, no extra years, and barring something drastic, no pro ball. It’s pretty scary knowing when that last game is four short years away, promise you young guns, it goes way faster than you could ever imagine. So to you seniors, this is it, our last rodeo, our last swan song, cheers to all of you, best of luck. Let’s make it one to remember!
Much love fam,