By Buddy Herberg, '13
I had never even heard of Cardinal Stritch University before the day I received a call from a former graduate assistant baseball coach in the winter of 2009.
Four years later, after a countless number of events here at the University, I have grown to know what Stritch is and have graduated! My experiences at this institution have shaped every aspect of my life: the athletic, academic, mental, moral, emotional, and even spiritual. But it all started with baseball, and playing baseball at Stritch has taught me an important life lesson better than anything else could.
My collegiate baseball career was packed with ups and downs. I attended two different colleges my first two years before settling in at Stritch. When I chose Stitch as my final home, I did not know what to expect. I just knew I had an opportunity to play collegiate baseball and obtain a degree. After three years dedicated to becoming the best baseball player I could be, though, I learned a few things.
The age-old metaphor that claims baseball is life could not be truer. Baseball is life. I learned that here at Cardinal Stritch University. The only absolute in baseball is that you will fail, and I learned that more quickly than any other lesson. For three seasons at Stritch, I failed at something every single game. And even though during my time here the team won more collective games than any other three-season span in the past, we still lost more than we won. I failed A LOT.
What the game taught me, though, is how to recover. Every single strikeout and every single ball thrown away has helped me learn how to cope with and handle the harsh realities of failure. When I fail, I have learned not to dwell on the failure. It’s most important to continue to strive in bettering myself for the next opportunity.
Sometimes in baseball, just as in life, you do everything right and still do not get your desired results. The most significant lesson I learned through playing at Stritch is if you do everything in your power to be successful, you might still fail, because some things are out of your control. But the one guarantee is that if you succumb to failure and lose your motivation to succeed, you will fail.
So, where are the redeeming qualities in this experience? Yes, there will be failures in life. That is part of being human. But baseball has taught me how to deal with those failures. And Stritch has given me an experience to make me understand that it’s not the end of the world.
This was my last year playing, and I performed better than I ever did in the past. I hit .300 for the first time in my college career. Had I given in to the disappointments of years past, there is no chance I could have improved to that level of accomplishment. My experience at Stritch has given me the strength to know that sometimes the process is more important than the result. I realize that I will fail at certain endeavors in life, but nothing will stop me from giving life every bit of my energy toward success. Because as I learned through playing, the right process will likely end with the right result, even if it takes years to achieve.