Sound advice on a departing note

“A couple of weeks ago I had the chance to sit down with a friend of mine, David Wallace. I was interviewing him for a profile I was doing for my magazine class and during our talk I realized he has a lot of good advice, even if he doesn’t know it. Wallace, a seasoned veteran in the Cleveland Indians organization, is the bullpen catcher for the team.”

A couple of weeks ago I had the chance to sit down with a friend of mine, David Wallace.

I was interviewing him for a profile I was doing for my magazine class and during our talk I realized he has a lot of good advice, even if he doesn’t know it.

Wallace, a seasoned veteran in the Cleveland Indians organization, is the bullpen catcher for the team. He played for seven years in the minor leagues only to just miss getting a call to the big leagues.

This is surely the story for more guys than just him but the thing about Wallace is he is perfectly calm and OK with all of it.

I think I could easily say he is one of the most upbeat and happy people I have ever met. He is genuinely happy about life and its challenges.

The discussion I had with Wallace came at a perfect time in my life. A time when graduation was right around the corner and I was at a fork in the road and I didn’t know which way to go.

I listened to him talk about his journey through life and the minor leagues, and it made me think.

So many of us worry about the future and what is coming next instead of enjoying the current road we are on. We always have an end destination in mind and we are so focused on getting there that we forget to breath and take in what is happening around us.

Wallace never let the smile disappear off of his face, even when he talked about walking away from his playing career. Yes, he said it stung a little bit but he is happy where he is now.

He has since headed down a new road toward a new dream: managing a major league ball club. Listening to him talk about his hopes for the future left me excited about my own future.

It left me hopeful that while having a dream is a great thing, sometimes that dream just leads you to a better dream that you may have never realized.

But something each and every single one of us needs is a good support system. I found mine in my friends at the University of Akron.

I met my best friend here five years ago during my first semester in speech class. Since that day she has never let me down and never not been there when I needed her. For that I am always thankful.

It was also during the last couple of years that I discovered what I truly love: journalism.

During my talk with Wallace I couldn’t help but notice how his face lit up when he talked about his job. He really likes what he does and as cliché as it may be, you don’t work a day when you love what you do. I don’t think I need more evidence to support that.

While I have to tag a lot of that cheerfulness and genuine good nature down to the kind of person he is, I can’t help but think that I wish I would have met him years sooner, sooner as in the beginning of my college career. Maybe he would have helped me to not be so frustrated and upset about college life.

I know what you’re thinking, no one can be that nice and that even-keeled, but I really do believe he is. Talking with his wife reaffirmed the fact that he is a person that everyone gets along with; he is the underdog you root for.

He told me his motivation for each day: I think a lot of people have skills and talents that they sit on and there is no bigger shame than taking an opportunity and wasting it.

That was the last thing he said to me.

I found it to be profound and so true, especially as I look back at my career at Akron and also looking at my future.

In college we are handed opportunities each and every day. Sometimes we take them and sometimes we don’t.

The Buchtelite was an opportunity for me, as it has been for many who came before me and will come after me. It’s a place where my passion grew and I was given numerous chances to prove myself. Some of those I took and I about killed myself trying to use that chance for all it was worth.

Regardless, I did my best and I don’t feel like I will look back and be upset about missing an opportunity. I can and will look back at my time at Akron as a good opportunity and chance to discover what I love.

My talk with Wallace came at a perfect time. It helped ease my worries about my unknown future and my thoughts that maybe I wasn’t ready to leave Akron.

One thing it did help assure me of is that I need more friends like him.