Ray Gormley was a good baseball player. He was so good he got the chance to go Fayetteville, North Carolina, and join in the Chicago Cub training camp, but he didn’t make it to the major leagues. One of his buddies was a guy named Rocco, who was also invited to the training camp that same year, but also didn’t make the roster.
Rocco’s baseball dreams had consumed him. He played in neighbourhood games whenever he could and would get his friends to pitch to him for hours. He would run uphill to increase his base running speed. He focused on strengthening his chest, his back, and his arms with homemade weightlifting equipment to encourage his ability to be a real slugger. The power hitters made the big money.
The trip to Fayetteville was a long one and Rocco ended up arriving a day late. A few days into camp, his throwing arm starting hurting him and it hindered his defensive plays. He was still hitting big, but discovered that, despite his efforts, his overall size had an effect on his running. He was strong, but he was too slow to fully capitalize on his hits.
It was on the bus ride home that Rocco confided to Ray that he was deeply embarrassed about how things had turned out. He had told everyone in his home town of Brockton, Massachusetts, about how he was going to be called up to the majors.
He would often visit his ailing father where he worked hard at a shoe factory. Rocco told his dad that once he was a major league player, he would financially look after him. He just couldn’t go home a failure. Rocco decided then to change his focus. He had been working out and training hard. If he couldn’t be a slugger in baseball, maybe he could be a slugger in another way. Maybe he could be a boxer and start prize fighting.
He offered Ray the job of being his manager, but Ray thought Rocco was just grasping at straws. He told him to swallow his pride and go back home to his job at the gas company.
For us, there have been more than a few times that our lives haven’t gone as planned. We’ve definitely had our fair share of obstacles, and they’ve either slowed us down, or maybe even totally taken our lives off of our intended course. We’ve also had changes that seemed to come right out nowhere when we least expected it, and although it has made our lives better we have definitely had to make some adjustments. We now have a cat, and a new dog, for example! It’s the result of a long story that we may save for another edition of this column!
There are two ways of looking at a life change. You can either be afraid of it and freeze, or realize the possibility that this could be something for the better and adapt. You can either turn down the chance at being a boxing manager when you’ve had your dreams crushed of being a baseball player, or you can change your name from Rocco Marchegiano to Rocky Marciano and move forward to become the only heavyweight champion to ever retire undefeated.