Post image for Jay Cannon, East Carolina University, Baseball

Jay Cannon, East Carolina University, Baseball

by carmine on June 18, 2013

Growing up I was around church constantly. My grandfather was a preacher before he passed away and my uncle still preaches today. I was in church at an early age but as I got older I started to realize that this God idea was not for me. The whole idea of someone sending their son to Earth to die for my sins was not something I was interested in. I kept to myself mostly about my struggle believing in God because most of my friends believed in God and I wanted to fit in. My story really starts my senior year of high school. I was in weightlifting when my coach came in and said there was a call I needed to take in his office. At this point in my baseball career I had not received any offer from any school in the country to play at the next level. I walked into his office and picked up the phone to talk to a Robbie Allen. Robbie Allen is the coach of the Brunswick Community College Dolphins in Bolivia, N.C. not far from Wilmington. He asked if I would be interested in coming down for a workout. I didn’t know much about the program, only that they were in their very first year of existence. The day after my senior prom my father and I drove down for a workout before one of their games. I took some ground balls and hit some batting practice, nothing to special. After we finished I was brought into the office of the high school field where they played and was offered a spot on the team. He was unable to offer any scholarship money he just wanted me to be on the team.

I went back home and talked it over with my father about what we should do. I had already been accepted to NC State and that was the plan as of now. In the talk with my Dad he told me not to do anything that I would regret. After that I accepted the spot to play for Brunswick Community College. I moved down there a lot sooner than most guys so I could get used to the town. I immediately felt something that I had never felt before, this sense of freedom that I could do whatever I wanted.

I never was a big party guy in high school, I just didn’t like being around a lot of people. That all changed when I was on my own. It started small, just going to parties and having a couple beers, nothing any other college kid wouldn’t do. School had started and now I was supposed to be responsible enough to go to class on my own. I had grown to enjoy partying and the late nights caused me to miss quite a few classes. As we got deeper into the semester I missed more classes and missed practices, mostly lying that I was sick or something.

My entire life changed at a party about a month after school started. One of my friends walked in and had a bag with him. He reached in and pulled out a tiny pill. I was very uneducated about prescription drugs so when he asked me if I wanted one I said yes immediately and took it. That one Percocet would send me into a downfall that I never saw coming. One pill turned into two, two turned into three, and three turned into me missing more class and quitting the baseball team. Now, for the first time in my life, the only thing I had ever been good at I had given away and now I had nothing.

On the night of October 24th 2008 , I took a trip to Wilmington to visit some of my friends that went to UNCW. We hung out and the entire time I was there I saw people that I had spent most of my life with being successful and I was on the verge of failing out of school and no longer playing baseball. On the ride back I couldn’t contain my emotions and I’m pretty sure I cried the entire 25 min ride back to Shallotte. I was alone with no one to talk to and I was throwing my life away. I got back to the house and went and sat on my bed. I contemplated a lot of things and then finally it hit me!! I walked over to my nightstand where I had a bag of pills and a Bible that my grandfather had given me that I had never opened. I got on my knees reached over and grabbed the pill bag. I laid them all on my bed and took every one of them. I had finally realized that the only way to fix the pain that the world was causing me was to completely take myself out of this world. I cried myself to sleep and the next morning the worst possible thing that could have happened, happened. I woke up. To this day I am not really sure how that’s possible considering the amount of drugs I put into my body, but nevertheless I was thrown back into this world. I went through the day and that night I was in the same situation the next night. I wasn’t contemplating whether or not to try again I was thinking about a different way to do it.

Whenever I speak at different places and share this story I always try to explain what happened next and I always fail. I was sitting on my bed when all of a sudden this noise, and when I say noise I mean the loudest thing I have ever heard in my life, came into my room. All I could hear and think was go get your Bible and that’s weird because I had never thought that in my life. I walked over to pick up my Bible and I started to flip through, not knowing what I was looking for. Then I remembered the only verse I could think of. I remembered it from a Josh Hamilton book that I had read like a week before. I flipped to James 4:7 “Submit to yourself, then to God, resist the Devil and he will flee from you”. I shut it and went to sleep. The next morning I didn’t tell a soul what had happened I just kept going on with my life. I was drug free, I was going to class, and I was back on the team, but something was still missing.

The semester ended and Christmas break had come. I remember getting the call from Coach Allen saying that I had failed 2 classes and I was not going to eligible. That was probably the worst thing I could have heard. I sat on my couch in my house and I was right back where I was. Only this time I remembered James 4:7. I pulled out my computer and typed an email to my coach telling him I was sorry and if he gave me a second chance I promise I would not let him down. I sent the email and got in my truck and went for a drive. I drove down highway 55 and pulled over in a gravel lot beside a caution light at a place called Sherrill’s Wrecking Service. I got out of my car sobbing and got on my knees in front of my truck and right there I gave my life to the Lord.

I have been to places that I hope nobody ever goes, and I have tried to fight my way out of it and it only made it worse. God took me to hell on earth only to show me that with Him I could conquer anything!

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