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Tyler Smith, Oregon State University, Baseball

by carmine on May 7, 2013



My name is Tyler Smith and I am a senior baseball player at Oregon State University. I am the shortstop for the Beavers and am extremely blessed to be a part of one of the best teams in college baseball in 2013.  I am originally from Thousand Oaks, CA and I grew up in a non-Christian home. Neither of my parents are believers and I never was really given any knowledge or opportunities to get involved with the church when I was young. But I always loved sports. I’ve played baseball my whole life and ever since I can remember my goal was to play Division 1 baseball. When I reached that goal and signed my letter of intent to play at Oregon State, I felt a great sense of accomplishment. Baseball was my entire life and I never really thought about God or asked any questions about him for the first 20 years of my life. But I always felt an unexplainable presence throughout my life and I always got the sense that someone was watching over me. But I never took the time to look further into it because I was so focused on baseball and baseball alone.

I arrived on campus my freshman year and it didn’t take long for me to wander down the wrong path. I knew I was doing things I shouldn’t have been doing, but continued to try to “fit in”. I was just hanging out with the wrong people and doing the wrong things. I was trying to have “the college experience” while still playing baseball and I quickly realized I couldn’t balance these things. I was in over my head with baseball, school, and everything else I was doing. I felt completely overwhelmed. My junior year I began to mature a little bit and had a very good year. I hit .340 and there was a lot of talk of me being drafted pretty high. I quickly got wrapped up with all the money that I could make and how high I could get drafted. I couldn’t wait for draft day. I watched 40 rounds go by and my name never came up on the screen.

This completely rocked my world. I was sure I was going to get drafted, there was no doubt in my mind. I didn’t know what to think at this point. I questioned myself as a player and as a person. I was extremely disappointed to say the least. This has been my dream for as long as I can remember and I felt so defeated after the draft was finished.

This event in my life changed everything about me. Shortly after, I realized that I had one more year of college baseball and I had to make the most of it. But everyone kept telling me “this happened for a reason”, “everything happens for a reason”. I began to actually think about what that meant. If everything happens for a reason, what was the reason? Why did every professional team pass on me? 40 rounds went by, and over a thousand picks were made, and I wasn’t one of them.

So many questions ran through my mind as I packed my bags and headed for the Cape Cod league for the summer. I began to think about if there is more? Why are we here? What are we supposed to do in this life?  The day arrived, a few of my teammates were having a Bible study in the dugout before the game. I wasn’t apart of it, but that is when I believe the Spirit truly started working in me. I started to think about the idea of God and I honestly was lost. I had no prior knowledge of Him at all. The next day for some reason I began to think about what happens when you die. I honestly believe that The Spirit was preparing my heart at this time. I honestly had the worst feeling in my stomach when I thought about death, and it was something I know now that God never wants us to feel. Throughout the entire summer God was on my mind. I played baseball and kept quiet about it but The Spirit was in me.

The day I arrived home after I was done playing baseball that summer I opened up a Bible that I searched for in our house. I knew we had one but no one ever read it. I opened it and just began reading. God, through his word, changed my life. Every verse made sense, words popped out to me, and The Spirit was working in me every day. As I continued to learn about God and Jesus Christ I was blown away. God made the truth very clear to me and it is truly a miracle how quickly the truth was revealed to me. I began going to church and my time worshipping The Lord was truly amazing. I felt His presence. I know He is real. I realized God used this trial in my life so that I could finally know the truth. He used my doubt and sadness to help me understand that I can’t go through this life without Him.  I accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as my savior this summer and was baptized this last fall. A couple months ago I shared my testimony in front of 500 people on the Oregon State campus at a Campus Ministry service. God has blessed me so much and has already given me several opportunities to share my story. This opportunity is just one of them. I have been walking with The Lord for about 9 months and it has been the best 9 months of my life. That presence I felt my entire childhood was Jesus, just waiting for me to run into His arms.

 

2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

            

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