A Game I Onced Love: Andy Klein


Andy Klein used to play baseball for Piedmont University. PHOTO//ANDY KLEIN

Andrew Klein, Contributing Writer

“Athlete. Captain. One of the best on the field at all times. Those were the phrases given to me
as a high school athlete. Did those phrases stick with me at the collegiate level? Sadly, no.
I was the farthest thing from those definitions from the moment I stepped onto Loudermilk Field
for practice.
I had played sports my entire life – baseball, basketball, and football – being successful in all of
them at one time or another. Sports were easy for me. It was all I wanted to do all day long.
Whether it was my brother and I throwing a football or baseball, arguing over his foot being on
the line during a 3-point attempt, or watching anything sports-related on TV, I lived sports on a
daily basis. It could have been the success I found while playing sports at a young age that
propelled me to stick with them, but I believe it was my love for each game. That is how all
sports should begin for children, and that love should only grow.
But in college, I lost that love.
Coming in as a college freshman was scary enough without thinking about baseball. Heck, the
new team I was a part of had more players than graduating students in my entire class from
high school; to say I was intimidated would be an understatement. I was not mentally or physically prepared for
the whole reason why I thought I was at Piedmont – to play baseball.
COVID-19 would end that freshman campaign in the early Spring. My sophomore year felt like a
cancellation in my eyes due to playing in precisely zero games. At the end of that year, the
coaches gave me one task: get physical. Being told I was extremely out of shape hurt a lot but it
was true.
Over the next five months, I practically lived in the weight room, kitchen, and sauna. My body
transformation was the evidence of my hard work, and other people noticed it too. Some
individuals in my life got an in-depth look into the real effort I was putting in. It felt great. To know
I challenged myself and found pleasure in the results felt terrific.
All that was asked of me by coaches, I did. I earned the grades. I bulked up. I got physical. I
tried to be the best teammate I could be. I did it all… all but achieve the success I was chasing
on the baseball field.
Did I fail? Was all that work for nothing?
I only started to realize recently that I didn’t fail. What I did for those five months will never leave
me. All the hours in the gym, eating bland white rice and chicken or saying no to dessert after
my mom asked a thousand times, proved something about me. I can accomplish anything,
despite what others may think.
I never got the chance to take the field, but if it were not for three years of baseball, I would not
be where I am today. I found a new path to stay in the game – coaching. While falling in love with
the sport again, I know I’m making an impact on the next generation and staying physically
healthy myself.
Don’t let other people’s words or perceptions affect you negatively. Get to work for the
betterment of yourself and no one else. If you fail in your original goal, know that if you stay
focused and follow through on your plan, you will ultimately taste victory for yourself.