Nick Goody - Cleveland Indians

Luke 1:37 “ For nothing is impossible with God”

I never really knew what that meant or truly believed it until I had to. I grew up in a very loving household and surrounded myself with great friends. Church was not something we did often, but we all believed in God and in the works he did.

Growing up I played a variety of sports, but mainly baseball. From little league to high school, baseball consumed my life and I was fine with it then because I did not know better.

High school freshmen year, tryouts were a disaster and I was almost cut from the team, and thankful for the coach’s dad who had seen something in me to let me stick around. Somebody was watching over me as they were making the cuts. That same year, I started as shortstop on the JV squad and pitched only a little. Fast forward to my junior year, we had huge expectations and no doubt we were extremely talented. All of my best friends had division I scholarships whether it was UCF, Miami, UVA or UNF. I was not good enough for a scholarship to a division I school, so instead I went to a junior college in Florida (State College of Florida) where my life changed forever.

Fall of my freshmen year at SCF I earned the starting SS role. Things were looking great, school was going great and I was on top of things. Baseball was coming easy and I was having tons of fun on and off the field. Spring rolled around and my first time at bat for the season, I hit a 3 run homerun and the next time at bat I singled to first, and I remember telling Barry our 1st base coach “this is going to be easier then high school”. I ate those words and for the next two weeks I could not field a ball or hit water if I fell out of a boat. I think I was hitting a buck fifty with about 15 errors in the first 2 weeks, life, as I knew it sucked. Inevitably I was benched for a “week break”, which turned into two then three. Not to mention somewhere in that time they decided I would become a pitcher, having only throw about 7 innings in high school... I remember calling my girlfriend at the time and telling her I was not happy here, and I hated pitching and I wanted to leave and go somewhere I could play. She insisted I stay there and that I gave them my word and it was something I had to grind through.

One thing I like about our coaches at SCF was that they were strong Christians. I believe God placed them in my life because I was crying out for someone or something to help, and they allowed me to make the best decision of my life. After sitting for a few weeks, I was not happy and lost all hope until Barry held a bible study at his house. When you’re at the bottom of the barrel, you’re willing to do anything to get out. He mentioned free food and I was in. A couple of the guys and me headed over to his house to have dinner and read the bible. I am not sure what happened that night, but I do believe that is the night I found God or he led me to him through all the occurrences. I just remember praying to God and asking him to forgive me for my sins, and that night I gave him my life and asked him to direct it down his path whatever that may be.

In all seriousness, I immediately felt this huge weight being lifted off my shoulders. I could see changes in my life happening, relationships with people were better, and I felt like I was a part of something bigger. I was not caught up in a terrible baseball season, my attitude changed and so did my game. I went from being the starting SS to a bull pen guy and found some success, baseball was fun again. Life was good.

I received a few scholarships after my freshmen summer, and took a few visits at different schools. I prayed hard and God gave me a sign to go back to SCF. That year I won a few accolades, received a scholarship to play at LSU, and was drafted in the 22nd round by the New York Yankees; which at the time absolutely despised. In one year after giving my life to Christ all that happened. I cannot make that up… I went to Minnesota for summer ball following my sophomore year while still in negotiations with the Yankees. My host brother in Minnesota whom I literally talk to everyday, he just called me now, was born with half a heart but had more life to him than anybody I’ve met. Whether he knows it or not he has taught me to be thankful for everything I have, and to be humble because there are tons of people out there that have it way worse. Eventually after about a month of negotiations and hard prayers, God led me to LSU. There I learned how to deal with being away from home, the temptations were everywhere. I went into the fall as the leading candidate for the closers role. Once again it was my job to lose and I lost it. It was about as bad of a fall season as anyone could have. It was a situation where if I did not fail at SCF and surrender myself to God, and just know that he has a plan and everything would be alright I might not have crumbled and self destructed. Opening night at the Box I got the call in the 9th and K’d the side. knew God was there with me because somehow I ended up being the closer about 2 weeks into the season and stayed there.

In June the draft came around, and I was blessed enough to get a call in 6th round by my now favorite team, the Yankees. After I signed, I pitched in 3 different leagues in about 4 months. One thing I prayed on extremely hard was getting an invite to big league camp. I literally prayed all the time even while driving and God once again answered my prayers. I got the invite, and my locker was next to Jeter and Ichiro and all the big name guys. After camp one day, I drove to Orlando to be with my girlfriend Kate for her birthday (which I have not been to one in 4 years) that Friday night while on the way to dinner we were in a 4 car accident. My truck was totaled and I tore 3 ligaments in my right ankle. When the paramedic checked my blood pressure he said “man your blood pressure is low considering you where just involved in a major accident”. I responded “everything happens for a reason, I cannot control this... this is God’s plan”. Needless to say my big league camp experience was not like most, as I was in the athletic training room for most of the time. I learned a ton and am extremely blessed and thankful. A month later while pitching in a game for the Tampa Yankees, I felt stiffness in my elbow and they took me out and the next day I had a MRI and the dye shot (arthrogram). The whole night I was praying to God, and eventually I received the results of a partially torn UCL. I had a choice to rehab it and maybe come back, or get the infamous Tommy John surgery. It was literally one of the hardest decisions of my life, and while driving home that night I prayed in the truck for God to give me a sign, something, anything, I needed his help and I kid you not the next car that drove by me licenses plate had a big ole TJ written on it. I called my trainer the next day and told him I was getting the surgery. Surgery went well and prayers were answered, and now I’m rehabbing all the while knowing this is apart of the ultimate plan.

I say all of that and share those life experiences to say I’m living proof that God can change your life. I’ve seen him work in my life and in others. The signs God has given me and the prayers that have been answered cannot be explained. Other than the big man upstairs is watching over us. I am not saying I’m perfect or have never messed up because I do daily. But God has blessed me with the best family, the best friends, and the best girlfriend I could ever ask for. And I find comfort in knowing that whatever may happen in my life is all happening for a reason. There is a plan for all of us and it is exciting to know its exactly what God wants. Now I’m only 22 years old and I know God has more peaks and valleys, but one poem that hits home with me and I’m sure we can all relate to is.

“Footprints in the sand”

One night I had a dream...

I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord, and Across the sky flashed scenes from my life. For each scene I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand; One belonged to me, and the other to the Lord. When the last scene of my life flashed before us, I looked back at the footprints in the sand. I noticed that many times along the path of my life, There was only one set of footprints.

I also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in my life. This really bothered me, and I questioned the Lord about it. "Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you, You would walk with me all the way; But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life, There is only one set of footprints. I don't understand why in times when I needed you the most, you should leave me.

The Lord replied, "My precious, precious child. I love you, and I would never, never leave you during your times of trial and suffering. When you saw only one set of footprints, It was then that I carried you.

God Bless,

Nick Goody