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Russ’ Story: Surgery Forces Major League Pitcher to Reevaluate His Priorities

Russ’ Story: Surgery Forces Major League Pitcher to Reevaluate His Priorities


RUSS: BEING ABLE TO SPEND ETERNITY WITH CHRIST
IS STILL BETTER THAN HAVING A… A LONG CAREER IN MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL AS
A… AS A PITCHER. AND SO… AND IT TOOK A WHILE FOR ME TO GET THERE, BECAUSE… FOR ME, BASEBALL WAS THE ONLY THING. I GREW UP IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA. SO WE GREW
UP JUST WITH A… WITH A SINGLE MOM. I NEVER KNEW WHAT IT WAS
LIKE GROWING UP TO HAVE A DAD, A REAL DAD. WE HAD A FATHER FIGURE IN MY GRANDPA, BUT
NOT A REAL DAD. AS I GOT TO COLLEGE YOU KNOW, WHICH WAS THE
FIRST TIME I LEFT MY FAMILY… SO RIGHT AWAY JUST HANGING OUT WITH TEAMMATES THAT I HAD, AND THAT’S WHEN THEY INVITED ME TO… TO THE FCA (FELLOWSHIP OF CHRISTIAN ATHLETES)
HUDDLES. I REMEMBER YOU KNOW PRAYING AND ASKING JESUS
INTO MY HEART. AND EVERYTHING I WAS BURDENED WITH, ALL THE
QUESTIONS, ALL THE DOUBT, ALL THE UNCERTAINTIES IT’S LIKE… IT WAS… IT’S LIKE… HE TOOK THAT. YOU KNOW HE’S LIKE THAT’S WHAT I TOOK. WELL WE WERE AT THE…WE WERE AT THE COLLEGE
WORLD SERIES IN ’95… WHEN I GOT THE CALL THAT I GOT DRAFTED BY
THE GIANTS. MY MINDSET WAS I WANT TO DO WELL, AND I NEED
TO ALWAYS FIGURE OUT… HOW TO GET BETTER, HOW TO GET BETTER, HOW
TO GET BETTER. WELL WHAT I ENDED UP DOING WAS SACRIFICING
QUIET TIME, ALONE TIME… WITH GOD, HAVING MY FOCUS BE… BE ON JUST ME. I KNOW IT CHANGED THINGS. I KNOW IT CHANGED
HOW I DEALT WITH PEOPLE IN THE LOCKER ROOM. I KNOW IT CHANGED HOW I DEALT WITH THINGS AT HOME. I KNOW IT CHANGED THE WAY THAT I REACTED TOWARD MY WIFE, AND I FOUND MYSELF REALLY STRUGGLING INWARDLY WITH A LOT OF STUFF. I GOT REALLY GOOD AT HIDING ALL THE,
YOU KNOW WHAT WAS GOING ON… WHAT WAS REALLY GOING ON IN MY HEART. AND YEAH, I REALLY JUST KIND OF FELT LIKE
I BECAME NUMB TO EVERYTHING AND… BUT ONCE I FOUND OUT THAT I NEEDED TO HAVE
SURGERY ON MY ELBOW, THEN ALL OF A SUDDEN IT WAS LIKE THIS MAY
BE THE END OF MY CAREER. I KNEW I WASN’T COMING BACK TO SAN FRANCISCO. I’M GOING BACK TO…BACK HOME. I GOT ON
THE PLANE… AND AS SOON AS I SAT DOWN, I YOU KNOW, I JUST REMEMBER… I JUST…I JUST STARTED SEEING. AND I COULD
STILL REMEMBER, YOU KNOW, TO THIS DAY I… I STARTED SEEING THESE VIVID PICTURES OF JUST
YOU KNOW, THINGS JUST PLAYING… BEING PLAYED BACK, YOU KNOW. AND SO AT FIRST I’M JUST LIKE WHAT IS GOING
ON? AND JUST WOULD NOT STOP. THEY WOULD NOT STOP. AND I WAS JUST IMMEDIATELY JUST…I WAS… SCARED. I STARTED YOU KNOW, I STARTED SOBBING. SO
THE FLIGHT FROM SAN FRANCISCO TO PHOENIX IS… I THINK IT’S ABOUT TWO…TWO AND A HALF
HOURS. AND THE WHOLE TIME, YOU KNOW, I… CRIED. THE IMAGES AND JUST THE UGLINESS THAT I FELT,
WHERE MY HEART WAS AT AND… AND I UNDERSTOOD THAT… THE DAMAGE THAT I’VE CAUSED YOU KNOW, NOT ONLY TO MY WIFE OR POSSIBLY YOU KNOW KIDS BUT JUST… JUST RELATIONSHIPS, YOU KNOW, WHETHER IT WAS
JUST A LITTLE BIT, OR IF IT WAS A LOT OR WHATEVER, YOU KNOW,
AND THEN DAMAGED MY RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD. AS SOON AS KIND OF LIKE THE…HIGHLIGHTS OR
LOWLIGHTS OR IF YOU WANT TO CALL THEM STOPPED, IMMEDIATELY IT WAS LIKE GOD SAID… I NEEDED
YOU TO SEE THAT. ALL THAT STUFF WENT ON AND… YOU KNOW, WENT AWAY FOR A TIME OR WHATEVER.
BUT I BROUGHT, YOU KNOW… I WANT YOU TO KNOW THAT I’M BRINGING YOU BACK BECAUSE… I LOVE YOU. I WANT THAT RELATIONSHIP WITH
YOU. I WANT TO BE CLOSE WITH YOU. I WANT YOU TO KNOW HOW MUCH I CARE FOR YOU. I HAD THIS NEW, IF YOU WANT TO CALL IT, REVELATION OF REALLY WHO GOD IS. I REALLY STARTED TO UNDERSTAND… HIS LOVE
IS… DEFINITELY UNCONDITIONAL. SPENDING ETERNITY WITH GOD IS FAR BETTER THAN
PLAYING IN THE MAJOR LEAGUES. REPAIRING THESE RELATIONSHIPS AND HAVING… A HEALTHY MARRIAGE AND HEALTHY FRIENDSHIPS… AND HEALTHY YOU KNOW BROTHERHOOD… WITH MY
CHRISTIAN BROTHERS… AND ALL THAT FAR BETTER THAN ME PITCHING IN
THE MAJOR LEAGUES AGAIN. SINCE I RETIRED IN 2010, I MEAN YOU KNOW SPIRITUALLY, YOU KNOW, I’VE SEEN GOD JUST DO SOME REALLY COOL THINGS
NOT ONLY IN MY LIFE, BUT IN MY WIFE’S… AND OUR KIDS AND MAKING
THE OPPORTUNITY… TO START A BUSINESS TO WHERE YOU KNOW, I NOT ONLY GET TO EMPLOY PEOPLE, BUT WE GET
TO USE ALL OF OUR PROCEEDS… THAT WE MAKE… AND HELP PEOPLE. AND SO WE’VE GOT YOU KNOW WE PARTNER WITH
AN ORGANIZATION WHERE WE GET TO FEED KIDS, AND HELP KEEP GIRLS SAFE. LIKE I LITERALLY
DON’T FEEL LIKE I‘D EVEN HAVE A DESIRE… TO DO THIS IF IT WASN’T FOR YOU KNOW HOW GOD HAS REPAIRED, YOU KNOW, MY RELATIONSHIP… WITH HIM AND WITH OTHER PEOPLE. AND I THINK I WOULD STILL BE SEARCHING AFTER
LIKE HOW DO I KEEP MY NAME RELEVANT? HOW DO I STILL BE LOOKED UPON AS YOU KNOW THAT PERSON I WAS, YOU KNOW WHEN I WAS HAVING SUCCESS IN THE MAJOR LEAGUES, AND NOW IT’S ABOUT HOW CAN THE FOCUS AND
ATTENTION BE ON OTHER PEOPLE? HOW CAN WE LOVE ON OTHER PEOPLE? HOW MUCH DID I SHARE MY LOVE FOR CHRIST… AND HIS LOVE FOR OTHERS? YOU KNOW THOSE ARE THINGS THAT WILL… WILL BE THERE A LOT LONGER THAN YOU KNOW MY
STATS.

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