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Gage Smith, Florida State, Baseball

by carmine on April 15, 2014


Background 

My name is Gage Smith and I was born in Tallahassee, Florida on February 13, 1991.  I am currently a redshirt senior relief pitcher on the Florida State University baseball team. 

I was lucky enough to be raised in a Christian household by a family that loved God.  I always believed in God, but I haven’t always followed him.  Sure, growing up I would attend church nearly every Sunday morning, but by no means does that mean I wanted to be there at all.  Basically, it was something I felt like I had to do to please my family.  I wanted to do what I wanted to do and that was it.   

 High School 

When it came time for me to go to high school, my faith had really just taken a backseat.  Although I wasn’t a “bad kid” per se, I succumbed to a lot of peer pressure in my teenage years.  Without going into details, I went through some rough patches in high school, mainly due to the fact that I cared solely about pleasing others, which gets you nowhere. 

 Now on to the baseball side of things… I played at Chiles High School my freshman and sophomore year.  I wasn’t the best player on the team at all, but I did start a majority of the games and I played relatively well.  However, after my sophomore year the coach called me in his office and told me that I was “too small,” so they weren’t going to keep me.  It wasn’t something I was prepared for, but I knew I wasn’t ready to give up baseball.  I talked a lot with my family and friends and I decided to transfer to a private school in town named North Florida Christian.  I worked about as hard as someone could work and to make a long story short, during my senior season FSU offered me a preferred walk-on spot on the baseball team.  And if you’re thinking that me going to a Christian school changed my outlook at all, it really didn’t.  It could have helped if I had let it, but it all came back to me living for myself.  There were plenty of times where I wanted to let God in, but I was honestly just scared.  I thought that if I went “all-in” and gave in to God, then basically I wouldn’t be able to do what I wanted to do and that my life would be boring.  So I continued to put God aside over and over again.  

 College 

 Gage 2My freshman year at Florida State was pretty overwhelming for me.  First of all, in our first practice of the year, I was scheduled to pitch an inning in an intrasquad scrimmage.  So I go out to the mound and the first two batters I face might be some of the best Seminole hitters of the last decade.  First batter… Mike McGee… first pitch… homerun off the scoreboard.  Second batter… Jayce Boyd… first pitch… homerun off the scoreboard.  Needless to say, I was thinking that I did not belong out on that field.  Well, believe it or not, the rest of my preseason practice didn’t go amazing, so I wasn’t too surprised when I got redshirted.  Out of all the ways I could have taken the news, I mainly took it as a chance to do whatever I want all season.  I didn’t have to be rested up for games because I knew I wasn’t going to play, so I was going out partying way more than I should’ve been and I definitely wasn’t being a “light for Jesus” when I was. 

 So then sophomore year rolled around and I was ready to play.  I cut back on the partying and decided I was ready to get some playing time.  I did pretty well in practices leading up to the season so I was pretty pumped to get out there.  Well, God had other plans.  The night before our first game, one of my coaches called me and told me that he had to talk to me and he was coming over to my house.  I was slightly confused and honestly had no idea what was happening, but I shrugged it off and waited for him to knock on my door.  When he got there, he proceeded to tell me that they were not going to keep me.  He said that they had to make one more cut before the season started due to roster limitations and I was the one they chose for various reasons.  I know there are a lot worse things going on in the world out there, but at that moment, that was the worst day of my life.  Baseball had been my life for 20 years and now it was seemingly over.  Getting cut from your college team isn’t like high school.  They were telling me I wasn’t good enough to play at that level and although I could have transferred to a junior college/smaller school, that wasn’t even an option for me.  Growing up in Tallahassee, it was my dream to play baseball for Florida State University and the fact that I actually got there and then got cut before even playing one inning, it was clear that my baseball career was over.  At this point, I didn’t want to play baseball unless it was at FSU. 

 So about a week went by and I was an emotional wreck.  It was just embarrassing to be around my friends or family.  But while lying in bed one night, God came to me.  He told me, very clearly, “You’re not done with baseball and you’re not done at FSU.”  For non-Christians, this may sound fictitious and believe me, it was the very last thing I expected to hear as well.  I had completely given up on baseball and my faith was at an all-time low, but at that moment, I finally decided to trust God and put my life completely in his hands.  Even though it was hard to logically believe I would be playing baseball at FSU again, I made it my goal to do everything I could to make it happen in an attempt to glorify God.  It seemed as though all my time was spent at the gym or the baseball field in efforts to become a better pitcher.  In addition, I was also really praying a lot for the first time in a long time and in my opinion, that was the difference maker.  If you don’t already, try to make it a habit to continually pray throughout the day.  It will help keep your heart focused on God and will no doubt change your life. Gage 3

 Well, the next fall semester came around and the coaches decided to give me another chance.  Logically, it made no sense and I didn’t quite understand their reasoning.  They had previously redshirt and cut me and were basically saying, “We know you’ve been here for two years and haven’t been good enough to play even one inning, but let’s give it another try.”  God works in mysterious ways.  I proceeded to have a very good preseason and made a name for myself on the team.  It wasn’t until my first outing that I realized why God brought me back to baseball.  I got on the mound, in front of thousands of people, and I realized I’m on a stage where I can affect a lot of peoples’ lives.  Previously, I had been playing and living for myself, so I wasn’t going to impact anybody’s life in a truly positive, godly way.  But with my life in God’s hands, I could really do some good.  And yes, I still make a ton of mistakes and I struggle with sharing my faith and God’s greatness with people as much as I should.  But ever since I decided to trust God completely and give my life to Him, I am trying my very hardest to be a light for Him, and I have never been more happy.  Very rarely do I get mad, stressed, or sad because I know that however bad a situation may appear, God is looking out for me and I trust Him to get me through it.  God is good, and I pray everyday that I do all that I can to glorify His name and share His love with others.  

 Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. ~1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 

 My name is Gage Smith, and I am an Unashamed Athlete. 

 
 

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