To live your dream does not mean everything will go smoothly and perfectly. It will have its ups and downs, positives and negatives, and successes and failures. However, the true key to success is adaptation. Adaptation allows you to turn what is negative into positive, what is failure into success. It is the tool to adjust and change. It leads to creativity, innovation, and evolution to be the best you can be. Like Willie Weiss, his ability to adapt from his positive and negative experiences brought him to triumph.
Michigan pitcher Willie Weiss (20) throws against Vanderbilt in the seventh inning of Game 2 of the NCAA College World Series baseball finals in Omaha, Neb., Tuesday, June 25, 2019. (AP Photo/John Peterson)
Willie Weiss is a 6-foot 3-inch right-hander. Perfect and an ideal physical body shape for a pitcher. You would think recruiters would be stalking him. However, it was not all sugar plums and rainbows. Because of his adaptive attitude, he turned doubt into perspective and transformed it into something greater.
It all started in Scappoose, Oregan. Weiss’s hometown is small with a population of about 7,200 people. However, his dream was to play a sport in college. His mom and dad knew that they would need to move and adapt to a bigger city in order for this dream to become a reality. So, they moved to Portland before Willie entered high school to get an early start.
Weiss did not start playing baseball. He learned his love of baseball through football in a weird and strange way. At Westview High School, he was the quarterback for the football team where tragedy had struck. Willie suffered a non-contact elbow injury in his first game. When he threw a pass in the second half of the game, he injured his elbow. But before he screamed in agony, he threw a touchdown pass the very next play. It was from this injury Willie adapted and changed to play baseball.
Change in Sport
Willie was inspired to play baseball from being the batboy for the 2011 Westview baseball team. When he was the batboy, Westview won the state championship. However, he would daydream that he too could pitch and win a state championship one day as well. But, his potential did not develop and arrive until his junior and senior year.
As a pitcher for Westview in his sophomore/junior year, he still did not win a state championship like he dreamed. Nor, was he seen or acknowledged by recruiters. Usually, it is at this point where doubt and uncertainty begin to enter a person’s mind and disrupt their confidence. Unsure why there was no interest in him from recruiters, Willie continued to work hard like his grandfather taught him. And he knew if he stayed determined, his moment will come.
Acclaim to Fame
The Midas Touch seem to strike Willie in his junior year. He was invited to play in a tournament called the Area Code Games. Unfortunately, they only asked him to play as a third baseman and not a pitcher. The Area Code Games are summer baseball tournaments that invite hundreds of high school prospective players to play.
He was also invited to play in The Arizona Junior Fall Classic. This event is for junior year students only to showcase their talent. The purpose of this event is to present recruiting opportunities for collegiate baseball. Willie put on a spectacular display in the Fall Classic, demonstrating the art of pitching and how to own home plate. His perfect performance brought in offers from the University of Portland and Michigan.
Willie’s senior year is when he sealed the deal. He improved his fastball from 87MPH to 93MPH. He continued to adapt and develop his body to pitch. And, he now realized he has a future in college baseball. Willie won the Gatorade Player of the Year award, and more importantly, accomplished his dream of winning a state championship for Westview High School.
When Willie received the offer to pitch for the University of Portland, he decided that he will stay and play. And that his fate was determined. However, before he inked the contract, he received a call from the Michigan Wolverines. Time was of the essence because Portland wanted a quick response. After visiting Michigan’s campus, he realized the Wolverines mound would be his home.
Willie is still continuing to adapt himself today. He is currently learning how to throw a third pitch as well as his stamina to become a starting pitcher.
“You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Become like water my friend.” – Bruce Lee
Life is full of experiences that help us practice the art of adaptation; to help you adjust and change for the best outcome. If you don’t see the blue sky above the clouds, you will never realize your potential.