I recently read R.A. Dickey’s book Wherever I Wind Up, and I loved it. Although my brother plays baseball and I enjoy watching it, I am not a huge baseball fan and honestly, I didn’t understand a lot of the baseball references or terminology in this book… but it’s about so much more than that. R.A. talks about his struggles dealing with sexual abuse as a child, the rollercoaster of being a journeyman going back and forth between the major and minor leagues, his mistakes as a husband and a father, depression, working through it, and trusting in God’s plan for him.
He was drafted in the first round after he finished college and was excited to live out his dream playing baseball – until he got some disappointing news from an X-Ray during a routine medical checkup that showed he didn’t have an ulna collateral ligament in his elbow (a rare thing for anyone, but especially bad news for a pitcher). As a result, his $810,000 signing bonus was taken away, and nobody wanted to take a chance on him.
The story follows R.A. bouncing around from team to team, never really getting much of a chance to prove himself. He is advised to try out the knuckleball to gain an edge and hopefully a spot on a team, a pitch that is completely new to him and out of his comfort zone. It’s not what he’s good at, and it’s not what he was drafted for, but it’s what he has to do to stay in the game. It’s a story of overcoming adversity through faith as he takes a chance and learns how to adapt in pursuit of his dream to play baseball.
I think I loved the book so much because it was so honest and vulnerable. He didn’t try to sell a story of the world being against him, rising against the odds, and doing it all on his own – he comes off as very humble, talking about the many times that he doubted himself, made mistakes, and acknowledged that he couldn’t have accomplished any of it by himself. Although it’s an inspiring sports story, you don’t have to be a baseball fan for it to affect you.