Growing up, I played baseball all through little league and junior high. I always made the All-Star Team. Like any little league player, I dreamed of playing second base in the big leagues. But when I got to high school, it was a whole new level of talent. I came from a very large high school. There were 800 people in my graduating class. When I tried out for the baseball team, there were 150 other young men trying out for 20 positions on the team.
I’ll never forget the day the coach called us into the gym to tell us who made the team. He began to call out the names one by one. I didn’t hear my name, but I was sure I was going to be next, or next, or next… The more names he called out, the lower I sank. He finally said, “Alright, here’s the last name.” He called it out, and it wasn’t my name. I was so disappointed. He told me later, “Joel, I’d love to have you on the team. You’re just too small. You’re not big enough.” Back then I was very small. I grew six inches after high school.