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Practicing Courage
Resa Nelson posted on May 31, 2014

When I was a little girl, my father taught me to dream about my future.  My parents encouraged me to try lots of different things in order to find out what I liked and didn’t like.  By the time I was eight years old, I knew I wanted to be a novelist.

But that changed by the time I got high school and did my own research to learn how much money writers earn.  I was appalled.  I had no idea how much money I’d need to support myself, but I knew the odds of earning enough money as a novelist or short story writer were likely to be slim to none.  So I gave up on writing.

At the same time, I fell head over heels in love with baseball and decided I wanted to become the first female manager in major league baseball.  (That’s a long story that’s better told on another day.)

By my senior year in high school, I figured it would be a good step to become the student manager for the men’s baseball team at the college I’d be attending.  So I decided that find out the name of the coach and call him.

But a peculiar thing happened.  When I dialed his number, terror overwhelmed to me.  What was I going to say to him?  What if he didn’t want to talk to me?  Even worse, what if he laughed at me?

I hung up before he could answer.  (This happened before caller ID existed.)

I tried dialing again.  I hung up before the phone could ring.

I can’t do this, I thought.  I feel stupid.  What if I’m an idiot?  What if my dream is ridiculous and I’m the only one who doesn’t know it?  Maybe I should give up.

My love for baseball pushed me into trying again.  I focused on letting the power of my dream become stronger than my fear.  This time I thought carefully about what I would say to him.

When I heard his gruff, no-nonsense voice, I stammered and stuttered but somehow told him I wanted to be a student manager.  What he told me nearly shocked my socks off.  “I’ve already got one.  Her name is Barb.  She’s a senior, so the post will open up next year.  Call me back in the fall.”

In the meantime, I went to some of my college’s baseball games.  I got up the courage to introduce myself to Barb, and she gave me some great advice.  Several months later, I interviewed with the head coach.  When he asked me why I wanted to be his student manager, he laughed at my response.

My worst nightmare had come true.  This dream meant the world to me, and someone who had the power to give me a position that could get me closer to that dream thought I was a fool.  I sat quietly, waiting for him to stop laughing.  When he regained his composure, he agreed to take me on as his student manager, a position I held for the rest of my college career.  I even received a partial baseball scholarship and earned a letter jacket.

A men’s letter jacket. 

I learned a lot about baseball but even more about how to work with men, a skill that helped me navigate the world in ways I couldn’t have predicted.

Not long after graduating, I had an epiphany that I needed to give up on my dream of becoming the first female manager in major league baseball.  (Another long story.)  I thought about the college baseball players I knew and how they played because they loved the game.  That led me back to my dream of becoming a novelist.

Maybe the most important lesson I learned is this:  whenever I feel scared, I need to stick to my goal and push through the fear.  My first year as a baseball student manager was fraught with terrifying “firsts.” Joining an established team as a newcomer who had no idea what she was doing.  Becoming aware that a few of the baseball players resented my presence and didn’t want me there.  Trying to figure out how to work with my tough, gruff coach (a former Marine) without incurring his wrath.

My time with them was one of the best and most important experiences of my life.  When I wrote my novel The Dragonslayer’s Sword, I created a group of characters (medieval blacksmiths) who represent the baseball players I once knew, most of whom I considered my friends although a few always resented me.  I even named an important character after my coach.

My coach and the players taught me about courage.  I learned that courage is something you can grow and develop, even if you have little to none to begin with. 

What if the only way you could save your own life was to kill yourself?

 Read Resa Nelson's new murder mystery, All Of Us Were Sophie.


The Dragonslayer series

recommended for Adults and Teens (14 and up)
Kindle $4.99
Trade paperbacks $12.95-$14.95

Book 1:

Book 2:

Book 3:

Book 4:


Also from Resa Nelson, a mystery/thriller about a modern-day society based on ancient Egypt: