When five-time MLB All-Star David Wright was growing up in Chesapeake, Va., playing pro baseball was not his ultimate goal. “My dream was to play college baseball in the ACC [Atlantic Coast Conference],” he says. He even signed a letter of intent to Georgia Tech, where he planned to major in engineering. To get to that level, he learned the value of hard work at a young age. “I always knew I had to outwork my competition,” says Wright, “because I’m not a guy that has the best tools or the best skills.” He actually arranged his high school schedule to accommodate an extra hour of batting practice every afternoon. He hit the cage regardless of whether he had a workout or a game later that day.
Thanks to his work ethic, Wright exceeded his goal. In the 2001 First-Year Player Draft, he was selected 38th overall by the New York Mets. “I thought that the best thing for my baseball career was to sign,” he says. So he gave up his dream of playing at the college level, and after a few years in the Mets farm system, in 2004, he was called up to The Show.
It’s more common in baseball than in any other sport for players to leap directly from high school to the pros. But regardless of your sport, never limit yourself. Wright wanted to play college baseball, but while he was working to accomplish his goal, he found an even bigger opportunity. Just focus on working hard, and be alert to opportunities when they present themselves.