Hobbs, played by Robert Redford in the 1984 classic “The Natural,” returns to the big leagues after a lengthy hiatus from the game. Obviously much older (and certainly more-the-wise), Hobbs struggles to fit the mold of the everyday baseball player until one fateful day, one dramatic swing changes everything.
During my first tour at Murray from 2003 to 2008, I floundered whimsically through classes and majors. I took up hobbies such as video games, partying and socializing to fill my time instead of studying and doing homework. The little homework I did complete felt natural and seamless, and yet I was lost on what I wanted to do with my life, and was definitely much less understanding of the ramifications of not attending class regularly or completing any and all assignments.
My grades, of course, tumbled into oblivion, with my last full semester in fall 2007 culminating into a grandiose .5 GPA for the final dagger in my hopes and dreams.
Hey, I passed scuba diving. That counts for something.
The local scholarships stopped coming and my KEES money went to a more deserving Kentucky student than myself. I had officially thrown it all down the toilet, and honestly didn’t have too much to show for it, save some good friends and family to back my indecision.
Licking my wounds and searching for direction, I went to work full time at the now-defunct Ryan’s Family Restaurant and part-time at Vitello’s (now The Olive). I had been working at both during my last semester in 2007, but I’d never understood the value of time management, or even graduating college for that matter.
From spring 2008 until spring 2010, I stayed in contact with friends at the University and even performed in several theater shorts just to occupy my mind and pass the time between paychecks. I watched my friends graduate and move on … some of them getting married and stabbing out into the world.
I dated a little bit, but it never really amounted to anything. I think it was obvious I was lost and going absolutely nowhere with my life, and no self-respecting girl dates a man without goals or ambition.
People always asked me if I was going to ever go back to college, and for a time I had the same automatic answer.
By summer 2010, I’d had enough. I knew I couldn’t wait tables or grill-cook for the rest of my life, at least not from a “this is my life” standpoint. I hadn’t reached my zenith, my self-actualization – the ends to my means.
One bright morning at Ryan’s, right about the time I was fed up with pretty much everything in my life, Murray State Head Football Coach Chris Hatcher came through the omelet station for his customary ham, cheese and jalapeno concoction.
He had brought in families and their recruits for a breakfast, and I had always enjoyed talking to prospective players and the coaching staff about the team.
At the time, Hatcher was just arriving to the University and he had more on his plate than the breakfast he had just ordered.
Tasked with turning the team around and finding a starting quarterback, Hatcher and I shot the bull about the upcoming season, the development of then-sophomore quarterback Casey Brockman and the hopes of the team for the year.
As Hatcher and his staff returned to the table to enjoy their breakfast (hey, I cooked it), I just stood in sheer disbelief, euphoria and then utter clarity as everything unfolded almost as perfect as the omelets I used to make.
Queue the dramatic swing music. I had to get back in school, and I had to get into sports journalism.
Next Saturday at 10 a.m., nearly nine years after my first class, I’ll graduate with a degree in journalism and a minor in mathematics from Murray State.
Along with it, I’ve had the experience of covering Racer basketball, football, men’s and women’s golf and the Tennessee Titans. I’ve been to journalism conferences and worked an internship in Paducah, Ky., and everything in between.
It’s not all been easy, no, and I sometimes wish I had fully realized my goals earlier in life, just for the sake of minimizing student loans, maximizing personal maturity and keeping obstacles from derailing my tracks.
If I had done that, however, I wouldn’t be where I am at today, and being Roy Hobbs isn’t really all that bad right now.
In fact, I think it comes pretty natural.
Column by: Edward Marlowe, Staff writer