"Don't pay them HATERS no mind you can be WHAT YOU LIKE," stated by rapper and songwriter Polo G in a track on his debut album. I've been playing this song in my head every morning for the last year. This song always reminds me of the obstacles I've faced in my thirteen-year baseball career, and now it's the anthem of my college prep journey.
Growing up Dominican-American in New York City, home to the largest Dominican American community, I was never the best baseball player on the field. In case you don’t know, baseball is the national sport of my grandparents' native land of the Dominican Republic. It’s a big deal in my family but also my entire culture. Now, I never realized I was just one of a bunch, but it became obvious the summer before my sophomore year of high school. I had joined a new baseball league as an infielder willing to play multiple positions, so I tried out to be the pitcher the team needed.
As the season went on, I played as an outfielder more than the pitcher because it was challenging to convince my team that I could do the job. Teammates I played with before could not see me past the role they've known me to play in the last decade. It was challenging, but I remained confident, and I could not let them take that away. The constant lack of trust and faith in me eventually motivated me to work harder to prove them wrong. The most critical step was blocking the unencouraging and unsupportive comments and focusing on the challenge in front of me. The best part was getting out of my comfort zone to learn the game from a different point of view, and in the end, I became a better pitcher because of it.
As I grow up and get reminded more that I am just one of maybe a million Dominicans trying to "make the team," I also started realizing that growing up means making sure I know my options in life. Most importantly, I have the confidence to be ambitious (WHAT I LIKE), and if anyone disagrees, they're a 'HATER' that I have to pay no mind to at all if I want to continue to be GREAT.
After this experience, is when I started looking forward to starting the college path. I see this new educational journey as an opportunity to be a part of a community of other ambitious students like me. I am eager to begin this next chapter that may bring many new challenges that will lead me to success. I look forward to being the best student and in addition the best baseball player I can become as an active member of my campus community. I can’t wait to explore other untapped strengths in me and conquer obstacles that will for sure make me reach my full potential. Even better, I look forward to opening my world to more options that I didn't even know existed outside of the Brooklyn borough lines.