Things Are Never As Good, Or As Bad As They Seem. Keep Working.
We had an opportunity to catch up with former professional baseball player, turned data scientist and cofounder of Seqnzr, Brian McAfee. We asked Brian to share a story of resilience that coaches can pass on to their athletes.
Like all baseball players, I’ve had my fair share of horrible outings, injury setbacks, things that call into question your motivation for playing the game. On the contrary, I’ve had my fair share of championship rings, call-ups, things that send a chill of accomplishment down your spine. A career in baseball is a rollercoaster. No matter how good you are.
One particularly challenging stretch of my career was my Sophomore Fall to Senior Fall in college. I’d developed a stress fracture in my lower back, and it took almost all of the joy out of baseball. I couldn’t train, throw without pain, or even pick up a backpack without being reminded of the injury. It had been on and off enough to tease me into thinking I’d recovered, only to slowly creep back worse than before. I’d strongly considered quitting, and would have been totally happy with the decision, as the injury took a huge toll on my mental and physical health outside of the game. A year after that Senior Fall, I’d transferred into the Atlantic Coast Conference, my body was feeling better than ever before, and I was training under the lights in the early morning next to Marcus Stroman.
This isn’t to say that all injuries will eventually heal, or that all setbacks lead to a comeback, but in hindsight overcoming that three-year struggle taught me consistency in the process. It’s easy to train diligently during the best stretch of your career, but much more challenging to do so in the worst. There have been several tough stretches in my time with Seqnzr where I have to remind myself of what I set out to accomplish, muster up some motivation, and push through.
Ultimately, your success is defined by the total amount of work you can put in. And the more you can keep motivation independent of outcomes, the easier it gets to put in that work.
Data Scientist on Nike's Commercial Analytics team. Co-Founder of Walk-Off Analytics and Lead Data Scientist of Seqnzr. Former professional baseball player for the Seattle Mariners and Tampa Bay Rays organizations.