When you’re out there in the heat of the moment and you’re pitching, it’s a big situation. You’re saying, “Don’t throw a ball; don’t give up a hit; don’t walk this guy.” The more you want to control something, the more it gets out of your control. And, you want to hit the outside corner with a pitch. If all you think about is, I am going to hit that–aim it right there, that’s the last place it’s going to go.
But when you have in the back of your mind where you are supposed to throw it, and then just say, “I’m going to throw it as hard as I can, right at that glove”—if you just say that, it will be around there more often than not—if you have done the preparation, and the mechanics, and everything is there.
It’s almost the same in life. The more you try to grip control of your life, the more God’s going to untangle that from you. He’s going to make things change where you have to rely only on Him.
I was so worried… so worried all of the time. My parents got divorced when I was 10. I had so much anxiety about my own life. If there was something that needed to get done, I would rather do it myself then let other people do it for me. Just stuff that I couldn’t control was what I worried about.
My Mom and I were trying to figure out how college was going to be a feasible option for us. She said, “You know, it’s going to be so expensive that I can’t afford to do that.” I didn’t know what to do on my own.
When I relinquished all control on my life, that was the day I was drafted. That was life changing. That was something that even talking about now chokes me up. God’s providence was just amazing in my life. God was there the whole time. I just didn’t bother to look.
I never thought in a million years that I would have the opportunity to play professional baseball, play in the major leagues, and live out my dream. Since I was a kid, it was all I ever wanted to do.
At the same time, though, if you are playing baseball… why are you playing baseball? Is it to have good success on the field and be a Hall of Famer? Sure, that’s everybody’s goal. But then what?
For me, it’s about the legacy you leave off the field. It’s about how many people I can affect through the platform He gave me.
I was able to go to Africa with my wife, Ellen. She’s been working with kids over there that she’s been able to go back and see. One child has particularly touched her heart, and her name is Hope. She’s an orphan. Both her parents have died from AIDS. You see the cloud in her eyes and know she’s scared. Ellen provided her with a short version of the Good News. And that’s all it takes for people in Zambia. It’s like they have been waiting their whole lives for somebody just to tell them.
And it changed my life…
We’re just an avenue. We’re just doing the part that God gave us. You can’t think, oh, yeah, we can change this whole country ourselves. No, but God can—and that’s one more reason to let go of our control.
Just saying that I played for the Dodgers in Los Angeles is amazing. It’s ridiculous. The prayer I say before I go out there and pitch is not “God let me win today” or “God, help me pitch good.” It’s just “God be with me.”
With all the different people and different cultures and different religions, you can become one of the crowd. You’ve got to keep reminding yourself that you’re supposed to stand out. And you are supposed to be different and act boldly in your faith. It’s definitely not easy, not a great conversation starter sometimes. But it’s worth the fight.
Whether it’s pitching on a baseball mound or living my life outside of the baseball field, it’s giving my life to God that really puts my life in control.
My name is Clayton Kershaw,
and I am second.
Considered by many as the best pitcher in baseball today, Clayton Kershaw is a three-time Cy Young Award who at the time of this writing had a 11-2 record and 1.79 ERA for 2016… with a record of 125 – 58 with a 2.39 ERA in his first nine years in the Major Leagues.
Clayton and his wife, Ellen, and their daughter, Cali Ann, live in Dallas.
He received the 2012 Roberto Clemente Award, which recognizes a Major League Baseball player who best represents the game of baseball through positive contributions on and off the field, including sportsmanship and community involvement. He and Ellen founded non-profit, Kershaw’s Challenge, which works to transform at-risk children by partnering with organizations locally and abroad to renew hope, one life at a time…including local charities in Los Angeles, his hometown of Dallas, and in Zambia, Africa.