HSBN Scholarship Essay Entry: Nicholas Esposito
Nicholas Esposito, #6, from Flanagan, is a pitcher that graduates with the class of 2020. Nicholas had started two games for the Falcons on the mound when his season was cut short. He gave us some insight into what the past few months have meant to him.
On Friday, March 13th, I took the mound for the last time as a high school baseball player. However, it was not on senior night and not for a playoff game, nor was it under the lights in Fort Myers.
Instead, it was a midseason game, overshadowed by the uncertainty of what lay ahead. It became evident that the planned two-week break was more of an optimistic guess rather than a realistic expectation, and the inevitability of the imminent restrictions only increased the prospect of a cancelled season.
Nonetheless, it was not gloom and sorrow that filled the field that night, as such emotions would only inhibit our enjoyment of the moment. An aura of positivity and hopefulness spread within the dugout, for what took place between the lines promised to free us from the reality of the pandemic.
In a way, life was put on hold as we laced up our cleats and took the field. A display of raw emotion and pure appreciation for the game characterized my final innings on the mound, capped off with emphatic “YESSIR” following the last out.
My mentality remained optimistic as my focus shifted to my next start. A month later, that start has yet to come.
The stark truth of reality did not hit until I returned to the field two days later for senior pictures. I took to the mound once again, this time without a family of fielders behind me, and reminisced in silence.
A plethora of memories came flooding back, from my first inning as the future of the program to my last as a senior captain. Beyond the mound, I recalled my one (and only) base hit as a PO in last year’s regional semifinal. Each image was vivid in my head, facilitating a replay of my best moments as a high school ballplayer.
Such reflection extended beyond my personal moments. The team bonding, the pregame meals, the team prayers, the bus rides, and, of course, the walk-offs, all of which built a culture of brotherhood that I will never let go of. For what may have been the last time, I left everything I had on the field, pouring out pure emotion as I reflected upon the best four years of my life.
If nothing else, this period of isolation has fostered a time of reflection. However, I have learned that it is essential to appreciate what we have rather than dwell on what we lost. Although the virus has disrupted the final weeks of our senior season, it is incapable of removing the plethora of memories made on the field.
While missing out on prom and grad bash is not something we imagined, we have numerous new adventures to set our sights on.
Finally, spending our last days as high-schoolers confined to our homes is not the ideal scenario, but it does facilitate the perfect opportunity to dedicate time to our families. Personally, I have found this time to be a roller coaster of emotions.
The widespread cancellations have been draining and I deeply miss my time on the field and in the classroom. Despite this, I have found several sparks of positivity to alleviate the difficulty of this time, among those being my academic path beyond high school.
As my baseball career comes to an end, letting go of the game has been a tough pill to swallow. However, with this time of reflection, I have learned that the game and its impact will persist. I have come to appreciate the plethora of opportunities this game has granted me.
From the bonds I have formed on the field to the memories I have made off it, baseball has fostered endless happiness that no other sport, club, or experience could replicate.
I want to thank all my teammates, as the endless hours we spent together facilitated the growth of a second family.
I want to thank Coach Figueroa for not only providing an avenue for success on the field, but also contributing to my academic journey. The gratitude expressed in his letter of recommendation was the perfect supplement to my college applications, and his understanding of my academic workload deserves continual appreciation.
Finally, I want to thank the game of baseball. Even amid a global pandemic, baseball remains an outlet from the pressure of reality. Watching highlights and reading articles has fostered a temporary escape, providing a glimmer of hope for what lies beyond our present situation.
With this, I am forever grateful for the extensive role baseball has played in my life, as well as the numerous opportunities it still has to offer.
Editors Note: Seniors wanting to enter the competition, follow the link below: