No More What If’s – Kevin Belskie

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Kevin Belskie

The game of baseball creates the greatest memories of my life and teaches me lessons I can’t learn anywhere else. Growing up in the Philadelphia suburb of Norristown, PA, baseball became a huge part of my life by the time I could walk. The warmer months were occupied by little league games, travel team tournaments, and each night at 7:05, Harry Kalas called the Phillies game and I made sure not to miss an inning. This became a routine and I was hooked. My dad would tell me about the players he grew up watching and I would be glued to my seat listening to him. I’d beg my parents and my brothers to play catch with me all day, every day, because all I wanted to do was play baseball. While attending Norristown High, my passions persisted even though my freshman year left me with mediocre stats. I vowed to myself I’d keep practicing so eventually after high school I could pursue my professional dreams.

 

Senior year of high school was coming to an end when I got selected as an All-Conference Infielder and recruited by Albright College and Suffolk University. Given that Suffolk is in Boston and Albright’s only an hour away, I chose to stay close to home and go to Albright. The first year at Albright wasn’t what I expected after working so hard during my high school seasons. Something was missing, a connection wasn’t quite there, and I didn’t feel the same amount of passion from my teammates that I exerted. Without hesitation, I reached out to the coaches at Suffolk hoping to transfer by the following season. Coach Anthony Del Prete expressed “You have a spot on the team but playing time is earned not given.” It was from that point on I knew bumps in the road were just bumps and I couldn’t give up playing baseball.

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With some persistence and plenty of patience, the spot in the lineup was mine. My three seasons with Suffolk granted me with remarkable experiences as a baseball player, collegiate teammate, student, and friend. We won three straight conference championships and three consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances. I received multiple awards including two-time All-GNAC selection, GNAC Player of the Week, as well as a GNAC batting title in 2016, hitting .432. Then despite knowing being a part of the Suffolk Rams would eventually end, we lost the final game of the season in May 2017 on the day of our graduation ceremonies. Suffolk taught me the value of hard work, perseverance, and how to overcome any obstacle. Words cannot express how grateful I am for Anthony Del Prete, Cary McConnel, John O’Brien, Jhonneris Mendez, and the rest of Suffolk University’s coaching and athletic department staff. I’m certain I would not be able to continue this journey without all of their help and guidance.

When my college career ended, I felt hollow. I hadn’t played in any collegiate prospect summer leagues so getting drafted was never a thought that entered my mind. However, Indy Ball opportunities always appeared as an option to me. My “real career” in financial services started quickly after moving home holding very little interest in my life. Almost everyday in my cubicle, I would relish my college career and the feeling of being on the field everyday. This thought would always be followed with, “what if?”. What if I had attended every tryout possible and fought like hell to keep playing? My younger self would have kicked my older self’s ass for giving up and not exhausting every opportunity. 

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In March of 2019, almost two years removed from college, I decided no more what if. Inspired by reading The Alchemist, I signed up for the Empire Professional Baseball League tryout camp. I played in a competitive men’s league throughout my post-grad summers as well as practiced and trained consistently year round. I signed with the New York Bucks and played the 2019 summer in the Empire League. Even though my time in the lineup was less than I anticipated, I finished the summer slashing .319/.410/.458 and clubbed my first professional homer! 

Throughout my career I’m very fortunate to have the support of families, friends, and coaches. My mantra is always, “I am still here, I am still playing, and I am not stopping anytime soon!” I look forward to the countless memories, connections, and lessons I still have to make from this incredible ballgame! 

 

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