Hampshire graduate and former Northwestern standout Jake Goebbert returned to the area to play his first series at Wrigley Field this week. The Padres' outfielder-first baseman, who was optioned to Triple-A El Paso Friday when first baseman Yonder Alonso returned from a rehab stint, shared his memories about the experience in his own words.
Sitting on the tarmac while awaiting a flight to Atlanta, after a whirlwind three days at Wrigley, I was simply reflecting. I listened to my favorite country music mix full of songs about small town USA, fought back the tears of joy welling up in my eyes, and thought about the experience of playing back home and the support that you all provided. I want to personally say thank you for all the encouragement, love, laughs, smiles, tears and faith. Not only from the hundreds who made the trek to watch but to everyone who has touched me in some way during this journey.
Journeying through the minor leagues can be quite a grind. Many people have sacrificed tremendous amounts of resources and time ranging from my coaches, my family and my friends, but none more then my wonderful wife, Heather. She has been there from the beginning through thick and thin, good times and bad, expecting nothing more then the small amounts of time I was able to provide. She is my best friend and biggest fan and I treasure the chance to share this with her.
Moments of pure emotion do not present themselves often enough in life to totally grasp the significance of many situations, but stepping foot on the sacred grounds of Wrigley Field, knowing whom I may have shared a locker with, touching the ivy, and hearing my name called during the starting lineup will be something that I cherish for the rest of my life.
The roots of this journey will always stem from the experiences gained from my upbringing in what I’d describe as the perfect small town experience. In saying thank you, I also want to challenge every one kid who has a dream, to chase it. I thank God every night for the gifts I have been blessed with but also want to acknowledge my shortcomings and failures because my faith and the glory of God has provided me with this opportunity.
Many of my teammates jokingly hassled me about the number of Goebbert T-shirts, jerseys and signs that encompassed Wrigley throughout the three days. Comments were made about how they never had seen anything like it. I stood humbled during these moments, trying to stay focused while also embracing the day.
There are no promises in this game, there is no guarantee for tomorrow, so I relish in the fact that I had the opportunity to experience what I did this week. My family’s motto and my father’s favorite quote is, “Things will come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.” Friday night I was optioned back to Triple-A El Paso, but that only fuels my drive and desire to continue to chase my dream. I hope to return to the big leagues as soon as possible, but never will forget the opportunities that I have had to this point.
I want to again say thank you. Thank you for the cheers, thank you for the allowing me to share this moment with the people who I care the most about. Thank for being there from my years in high school to now. I will always be a small-town kid, I will always look back on my times at Hampshire with gratitude, and I hope to some day raise a family and provide my children with similar experiences to what I was blessed with.
Don’t fear failure. Failure is most often an idea with no relevance on future outcomes in life. Search for little victories in everything you do. If you dream, shoot for the stars and there is not telling where you will end up. I will continue to dream of a long career in the game I love and hope that my journey can help show even one child that dreams come true.
Lastly, I want to leave you with a quote. “I am not who I want to be, not who I ought to be, not who I am going to be, but I am better than I used to be.”
Thank you all.
– Jake Goebbert