J.C. Derrick: Disappointment and success

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Monday, August 20th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from member-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. WORLD Radio’s JC Derrick is here now to talk about a lesson we’ve heard about, but one we are often reluctant to take to heart: that God’s ways are not our ways.

J.C. DERRICK, MANAGING EDITOR: Twenty years ago, I experienced the most memorable summer of my childhood. At 14 years old, I was part of the first team from our Texas town to win the Dixie Boys state title in baseball. That meant going to the world series in Eufaula, Alabama.

You might think I’m about to tell a story of great triumph, but this one doesn’t have a fairytale ending for me—or the team. Don’t get me wrong: It was an amazing experience to represent my state, wearing a red, white, and blue uniform with TEXAS emblazoned on the front.

But I began our postseason run as the starting center fielder and leadoff hitter. I ended it mostly watching from the bench.

I had encountered an ill-timed batting slump, but I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t also a feeling of unfairness about the situation. After all, the coaches’ sons never came out of the game—no matter how much they slumped.

Our team went on to tie for fifth place. It felt like we’d underperformed.

But God used that experience to forge my teenage character. It’s not easy to practice hard when you know you’re not going to play much. And it’s hard to cheer for teammates who you think are less deserving of playing time.

I learned a lot about teamwork, selflessness, and respecting authority that summer, much more sitting on the bench than I ever would have starring on the field.

I walked away thinking that was the end of the story—or at least the chapter. I was still convinced I would one day find a way to the major leagues.  

Little did I know the seeds of my real career were planted that same week. I’d always hated writing, but I found I enjoyed sending game stories to friends and family back home. They loved them—and encouraged me. And so I discovered I could write.

Four years later, my brother was on the second team from our town to win the state title in baseball. My dad told the local sports editor I could write game recaps. I did, the editor printed them, and then later he asked me to become a correspondent. And an unlikely journalism career was born.

So I guess this story does have a fairytale ending after all. Just not the one I thought I wanted.

I’m glad God knows better than we do.  

For WORLD Radio, I’m JC Derrick.

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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