Editorial: Pigeon Forge baseball title taught us all a few things about achieving success

May. 28, 2013 @ 11:24 PM

Beyond the trophy, beyond the chest-thumping and glad-handing and sheer joy of the title, the Pigeon Forge baseball team taught some valuable lessons to fellow students and other young people grasping for what they might want to do with their lives.

Hard to believe that a bunch of teenagers who play baseball well could be so influential, but think about what these guys did last week. Yes, they won the state Class AA baseball championship, but how they did it is as much of a story as the end result.

Down 3-0 heading into the seventh and last inning, ineffective at bat throughout the game, the Tigers found a way to score three times to tie it and then twice in the extra inning to win it over Goodpasture, a private school in Nashville. It was a remarkable example of perseverance, of never giving up, of fighting to the end for a dream and a goal.

In its own way, the baseball game last Friday in Murfreesboro was a metaphor for life and for what it takes to succeed and achieve. The Tigers were down, three outs from being state runnerup, but Coach Mike Guinn gathered them, as he has all season, and told them what was at stake, what their capabilities were and what faith he had in them. Then these young men went out and proved him right.

It would be easy to call the Tigers a one-man team, but no team sport succeeds on the backs of one or two or five players. Pitcher Wil Crowe is special, a likely future Major League player and a quality young man. His performance in the championship game was astounding. He threw more than 150 pitches, and while you may question the wisdom of an 18-year-old throwing so many pitches in a game — big-leaguers rarely go beyond 100 pitches — in fact this was a one-and-out for Crowe. Never again, whether he goes on to college or submits to the Major League draft, will he be asked to do what he fought to do last Friday: stay in a game beyond the point he perhaps should have been pulled. It was a gutsy, courageous performance, and to strike out the side in the eighth inning showed he still had enough to finish it off.

His teammates were as invested in this successful story. They got the timely hits, made the fielding plays, put in the sweat equity all season to reach such a pinnacle. Talented players do not always equate to championships. The title Pigeon Forge High now holds was the result of a number of factors — skill, coaching, luck, emotion.

This is a trophy, a piece of hardware, that does not show what went into its possession. Those memories will carry these young men and their followers for years — decades — to come. Congatulations, Tigers, for winning the title and how you won it as well.