What are the odds of realizing your childhood dreams?
On the first day of school, often kids are asked what they want to be when they grow up. Is it a doctor, a lawyer, a teacher or maybe an astronaut?
How many want to be pro athletes or movie stars?
Wednesday night, I watched on television as my cousin pitched the first five innings of his first major league baseball game.
It was more than a little surreal to see a familiar face in that Detroit Tigers uniform under the bright lights.
“Living my dream was even better than I thought it would be,” he posted on Facebook the next day.
The interview with his parents, Warren and Rose Farmer, in the stands made it all the more real, though. They’ve cheered and coached three kids through softball and baseball for nearly 25 years.
When I was a kid, I’d have said Warren and his brother Gordon were “famous.” They modified a Snapper lawnmower to speed and do wheelies, then drove it in a Conyers parade and at the racetrack.
They were in the newspaper and had their names mentioned on an Atlanta radio show every so often. As a kid, I thought that was pretty big.
I’ll have to ask Warren and Rose if they ever considered the odds of being interviewed in the stands of a Major League Baseball game when starting Frankie, Mitchell and Buck out in sports.
Turns out, one in 200 high school baseball players can expect to be drafted.
But with roughly 1200 draft picks annually, the odds of actually making a major league team are still fairly daunting.
As a fifth round pick, Buck’s odds of making the big leagues within five seasons is somewhere between 20-33 percent.
Since he was only drafted last summer and promoted to the organization’s double-A team two weeks ago, I’d say he’s beating the odds so far. He was optioned to the Toledo Mudcats, a triple-A team, after the big game.
With other careers, perhaps it’s a little harder to figure out the odds since we don’t usually have clubs of aspiring doctors or lawyers. I’m not even sure what the odds are of becoming a 4-H agent, although I would say a lot of 4-H’ers would love to be paid to go to camp.
Just looking at the kids I babysat for at Gum Creek Presbyterian, a small, rural church at the north end of the county, it makes me wonder even more.
One of those kids is now teaching third grade at Oak Hill Elementary. It’s no surprise how cute her classroom is when I think back to how much she enjoyed crafts and decorating her doll house. She even had imaginary friends with disabilities—I can’t imagine a better young woman to teach a diverse classroom of children.
Another is working as a resident physician at the University of Tennessee Medical Center. I can’t remember if he played Operation as a kid, but his mom is a nurse. With his incredible imagination, however, I could see him puzzling through medical problems like Dr. House but with a better attitude.
Yet another kid I frequently sat for is now in law school. With her insatiable appetite for books and a little brother to practice arguing with, perhaps I should have predicted this one sooner.
So what are the odds?
I don’t know the odds of those jobs, but I know odds are that the support their parents and other adults such as coaches, teachers and club leaders give them today will no doubt increase the odds of having their own dreams come true.
In interviews after the game, Buck was quoted thanking his parents, coaches and teammates along the way for their support.
He didn’t brag about his own successes over the years, but acknowledged that it really does take a village to achieve a dream.
It’s a parent’s encouragement. A teacher’s or coach’s guidance. A grandparent or aunt simply sitting in the stands, believing in you.
My 4-H’ers all have very different dreams, but I know I am part of that village of support, helping them pursue those dreams.
If you would like to volunteer, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Terri Kimble Fullerton is a Newton County 4-H Agent through UGA Cooperative Extension. She can be reached at email@example.com.