The Paige Pitch (Diet for Dreamers)

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Never let your head hang down.  Never give up and sit down and grieve.  Find another way.  And don’t pray when it rains if you don’t pray when the sun shines. —Satchel Paige

He attracted record crowds wherever he pitched, and for close to 15 years and throughout countless innings, he was considered “unhittable”! Today, decades after he reigned on the pitcher’s mound, his fastball is still the stuff of legend. According to a 2010 article in Sports Illustrated, Leroy “Satchel” Paige (July 7, 1906 to June 8, 1982) was “perhaps the most precise pitcher in baseball history — he threw ludicrously hard. And he also threw hundreds and hundreds of innings.”

In 1971, Paige was inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame — the first African-American player to earn the distinction. In 1981, veteran actor Louis Gossett Jr. portrayed the pitcher in the biopic Don’t Look Back. In 1999, Paige was ranked Number 19 on a list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players. And in 2006, he was further honored when a statue of Satchel Paige was unveiled in Cooper Park, in Cooperstown, New York.

But of far greater interest, Paige was positive proof that sometimes dreams can take years to completely achieve — but you’re never too old to pursue them! The world-famous pitcher had practiced, played, and pursued baseball since he was 10 years old, batting around discarded bottle caps with a stick, always dreaming about the diamond sport. His mother once commented that Satchel would rather “play baseball than eat. It was always baseball, baseball.” And yet, it took nearly four decades for him to make the big leagues!

Along the way, Satchel encountered a few bumps in the road to success. He earned his nickname as a kid, while carrying luggage at a train station. Because he could only earn a dime for each bag he carried, the youth devised a clever means of making more money to help support his struggling family: he would place two bags at each end of a sturdy pole, and then carefully lift the pole to his shoulders. Walking through the station while balancing the weight of four bags was backbreaking work! And one of his fellow porters remarked that Paige looked like a tree that was growing satchels!

There were other, moral and emotional, struggles the youth faced. After frequently skipping school and occasionally shoplifting, Paige was arrested at age 13 and committed to reform school — for five years. But the determined dreamer spent those years practicing baseball with a savvy Alabama coach who helped Paige develop a great deal of his pitching strategy. Talk about God working all things together for good! (Romans 8:28)

Satchel Paige once said, “…Age is a state of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it don’t matter.”

Paige also had to deal with racism and bigotry. Throughout the 1920s and 30s he played only in the “Negro Leagues.” He also pitched in exhibition games for barnstorming teams across the United States; and he even played baseball in Puerto Rico, Mexico, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic. But it wasn’t until 1948 that he signed his first big league contract, for $40,000 with the Cleveland Indians. Thus, at the age of 42, Paige became the oldest major league rookie in baseball!

The journey to fulfilling his dream had been long and difficult, but Paige felt he was still “young” enough to make the most of his success. He played baseball until he was 60! In fact, even after his “retirement,” he stayed active in a variety of pursuits. He published his autobiography, coached, made appearances on TV game shows, and even ran (unsuccessfully) for a Missouri state assembly seat.

And in 1969, at 63, Paige returned to the mound for an exhibition game. Between innings he sipped coffee in the bullpen while resting in a rocking chair. But during the game he showed his stuff — and struck out another baseball legend, Don Drysdale!

Satchel Paige always pursued his life and dreams with the enthusiasm of a young man. Whenever a reporter would ask Paige about his advancing years, in regards to pursuing his love of baseball, the pitcher would simply reply, “If someone asked you how old you were — and you didn’t know your age — how old would you think you were?”

Have you been chasing a dream for years? Do you wonder if you’re getting too far along in life to ever catch it? Here’s a thought we’d like to pitch to you. We call it the The Paige Pitch: You’re only as old as you think — and you’re never too old to pursue your dreams!

“I will be your God throughout your lifetime — until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you.” (Isaiah 46:4 NLT)

“…The people that know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.” (Daniel 11:32 ASV)

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The Sacrifices We Make (Diet for Dreamers)

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“Dreams do come true, if only we wish hard enough. You can have anything in life if you will sacrifice everything else for it.” (J M Barrie, Peter Pan)

When we devised the title of this series, our thoughts ran along these lines: to accomplish anything in life, we need proper nutrition, and to achieve certain goals we need certain foods. A bodybuilder needs extra protein, a runner needs more carbs, and someone wanting to lose weight needs … uh, less of everything that’s truly delicious! This last example seems unfair, doesn’t it? But until someone invents a pill that consumes excess fat, a dieter will have to stick to his or her diet — which means sacrificing desserts.

Who’s dieting? I’m not dieting. I even ate a clock once. Talk about time consuming!

Anyone who’s trying to achieve great things also needs a special diet: Inspiration to feed the dreams, encouragement to foster the creativity; organization and strategy to make the most of time, talent and resources; and steadfast faith and a deep passion for the goal or dream, both of which can fuel a person all the way to the finish line — all the things we’ve discussed since we began this series.

And some dietary sacrifices will have to be made, and that’s never easy; which is why many people quit — or cheat too often and too much. Diets only work if we’re willing to stick with them. Although occasionally we do need to give in to a craving in order to keep our sanity, most of the time we have to resign ourselves to sacrificing the foods we love (in the case of a nutritional diet) or the activities we love (in the case of a dreamer’s diet).

Writers, artists, actors and musicians who achieve a level of virtuosity, entrepreneurs who exceed their goals, researchers and inventors who make great breakthroughs, visionaries who change the world, and even people who build solid marriages and raise well-adjusted kids, all do so because they stick to their diets … and that usually means sacrificing certain things.


We have friends who — during their spare time — watch tons of television, or play video games almost non-stop, or participate in any number of other leisure activities. These people are relaxing and doing what they enjoy most, and there’s nothing wrong with that. We, on the other hand, want to achieve our goals, so we need to make the most of our time. (Personally, we’re always working on our books, articles and stories.) We can’t walk away from our day jobs, family responsibilities, and social obligations; and we have to take time to eat, sleep and shower, so what’s left usually goes to pursuing our dreams.

In other words, we sacrifice our leisure time — and that’s tough. Well, we all know dieting isn’t easy, but if we want to fit into our pants or achieve our dreams, we resign ourselves to making sacrifices.

We used to teach adult Bible classes for both singles and married couples. We wanted to do this, and we wanted to make a difference in the lives of our students. We wanted to give our best efforts to this pursuit, and that meant hours of personal study and course outlining. We had other responsibilities on week nights after work, and all day on Sundays, so we had to devote our Saturdays (our only “day off”) to preparing for our weekly class. Hence, we had to sacrifice our only opportunity to read and relax, or go for a walk and have a picnic.

We won’t lie, sacrificing our down time continues to be a challenge; and sometimes, seeing others at play while we toil away at extra (and optional) tasks can be a little irritating. But we keep reminding ourselves that, if we are to accomplish something — any thing — worthwhile, we need to stay on our diets and continue to sacrifice activities that could ruin our progress.

Can you relate? Do you find yourself getting a little envious of people relaxing while you’re working, training, studying, tinkering, analyzing, researching, practicing, or honing? Remind yourself, if you’re pursuing a goal then you’re simply paying the price. You need a certain diet with built-in sacrifices. Stick to it, and stop begrudging the guy next door who’s playing Candy Crush all day long. Your diet and sacrifices will make you a lean mean dreaming machine, and someday you will achieve great things! And the guy next door? He’s happy with his diet of computer games, and perhaps someday he’ll be the best Candy Crush player in the neighborhood!

Pay the price today, so you can celebrate tomorrow. It’s the diet we choose for ourselves, and the sacrifices we make to succeed. “…I count all things as loss compared to the surpassing excellence of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord…. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ.” (Philippians 3:8 Berean Study Bible) “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14 NIV)

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