by Jill Roman Lord
What are your children’s dreams? Do they believe they can come true? Are they working hard to help them materialize?
Wade Stauss was a five-year-old, swinging a baseball bat in Wildwood, MO with his brothers, and with a dream to play in the big leagues someday. Today he is a catcher within the St. Louis Cardinals organization making his dream come true. What did it take for this dream to materialize? Wade was kind enough to answer some questions, in the midst of his spring training, to share his journey. His answers are amazing, so I left it in the interview form. Now, grab your kids, sit down with them, and enjoy Wade’s story to help encourage your own children to pursue their dreams.
How did your love for baseball come about?
I believe the love came from the beauty of the game itself combined with playing it as much as I could with my brothers. The sibling competition really made me take to it and want to be great at it which only made me want to work harder.
What is your current team/position?
I am a catcher and have been for 18 years! I currently play within the St. Louis Cardinals organization and am at Spring Training with them right now. I finished last season with their High-A minor league affiliate, the Peoria Chiefs.
What were some of your challenges in getting where you are today?
I would say the biggest challenge I faced was overcoming the adversity that comes with being a baseball player. In the game of baseball, the best players succeed 3 out of 10 times (in terms of hits per at-bats) so working through the consistent failure was one of the most prominent tasks that myself, and any other baseball player, must overcome. I also had to face the battle that is self-doubt (and I continue to) and believing that I am where I am supposed to be and can trust my talent that has come from the hard-work I’ve put into the game.
What is a highlight of pursuing your dream of baseball, so far?
This is one of my favorite questions. My favorite highlight is when the Cardinals called and asked if I wanted to play for them, the reaction of telling my girlfriend (now wife!) and parents at the time was the greatest feeling in the entire world. The sight of seeing my parents hugging each other as I accepted the offer is one that I will never forget and always makes me smile when I think about it!
How did God help you/guide you in your baseball journey?
That’s a loaded question! Without God, none of this would have happened. I feel most connected in my spiritual life whenever I am playing baseball because I know that He is the one who has given me the skills and attributes to play at the level that I am at. There are lots of times where this game has beat me down and I questioned why I am still moving forward. This is when my faith becomes most important; Believing that He has put me here for a reason and he would not give me any challenge that I can’t handle and has pulled me out of the darkness many times. Baseball has given me a lot, but the most important gift I’ve received from playing is the realization that without God, none of this is possible.
Did you have to sacrifice much to get where you are today?
Oh man, I missed a lot of stuff. Several school dances, family holidays, Sunday School, and even a family wedding that is coming up. It pains me to do so, but it is one of the sacrifices that you must make for this game. In a way It’s a good thing, because it calls for you to go the extra mile to give your free time to those friends/family/events that you missed, and also helps you enjoy the time that you have with them even more.
Did you ever dream of doing anything else?
As a kid, I always wanted to be a baseball player, just like every other kid that has ever swung a bat. As I grew older, I started to think more ‘realistically’ and have always been attracted to entrepreneurship. Around that same time though is when the Cardinals called!
Did you ever quit or want to quit playing baseball?
I think that every professional athlete has thought about quitting the sport they play at least once in their lifetime, if not more. I would say the same. As you grow older you definitely feel the pressure of life’s responsibilities that comes with age, and it makes you wonder if you need to stop trying to make it in a kid’s game. That is the same time that you reflect in your prayer and spiritual life by turning to the Lord for guidance and trust that he will lead the way. Keeping the faith is everything.
What dreams are you striving for now?
My marriage is definitely at the forefront of that. I love the idea of looking back when I am older and seeing how well my wife and I have done growing together in our faith and our own family. I kind of tie dreams and goals into the same boat. Is it a dream to play in the big leagues? Absolutely. If that never comes, will I be happy with what baseball has given to me? Absolutely. Instead, I set the goal of being the hardest worker in whatever task I am doing, on and off the field. For example, if I am catching a game, I am going to be giving it all I got until that final out is made. If I am cleaning dishes after dinner, I am going to be the best dishwasher this world has ever seen. If I am on the phone with my mom, I am going to be the greatest son in the world. I could go on and on. I guess you could say my dream is to be present in every situation that I am in and derive happiness from doing my best in all aspects of life.
Anything else you’d like to share about your baseball journey?
Baseball will chew you up and spit you out if you let it, but it is the greatest metaphor to life that anyone could ever think of. Don’t let your highs be too high and certainly don’t let your lows get too low, don’t give this game that type of power. Aside from that, and I am definitely quoting something I’ve said online, whenever you look back on your career, no matter how long it is, you won’t remember your batting average or other statistics, you’ll remember the friends that you made playing this game. All my best friends in life were the ones that I played baseball with, don’t let your success or failure in this game distract you from that.
Any words of wisdom you want to offer to children today?
First and foremost, without Jesus’ presence nothing works, so make sure you get that squared away ASAP. Go to church with your parents, even if you don’t want to. Social media is toxic and will swallow you up if you let it so, stay away from that as long as possible. Don’t put so much pressure on being with the ‘cool’ crowd in school and the whole popularity joke, be who you are, because that is who the Lord made you to be. I’ll leave you with my favorite verse that is applicable to all facets of life:
“These things I have spoken to you, so that in me you will have peace. In this world you will have tribulation, but fear not! I have overcome the world.” -John 16:33
Well, there you have it – a boy, a dream, hard work, and faith in God to make it happen. Thank you Wade, for sharing your story! You are such an inspiration! We wish you all the best!
Now, you all probably want a book to help keep your children focused on pursuing their God-given dreams. Right? Check out my newest board book release of Dream Big, My Precious one.
Please share below your children’s dreams, and how they are working to make them come true! I’d love to hear all about them!
Photos courtesy of Tonia Stauss. (Thank you, Tonia!)
News, blog posts, book releases and signings -- sign up below!