BYU baseball players don’t have it any easier than anyone else when it comes to making the transition back into normal life after returning from an LDS mission.
It can take weeks, even months, to readjust to school and re-entering the social scene, let alone getting back into peak physical condition.
“The hardest part for me to make that transition is realizing you have been gone for two years,” said Daniel Welch, a left-handed pitcher who served in Curitiba, Brazil. “You want to push hard and mentally you are there, but your body just can’t keep up.”
With so many returned missionaries on the team, coach Vance Law has a lot of experience in knowing how to deal with this situation. Along with the coaching staff, many players relied on each other to make the transition as smooth as possible.
“You come from one great lifestyle in the mission field, to another great lifestyle here at BYU,” Welch said. “The team really helped to make that transition for me easy.”
Many players found coming back to play baseball after a mission was difficult. The team emphasized the need to be patient when beginning to throw again, as well as conditioning.
Adam Miller, a right-handed pitcher who recently returned from the Mexico Culiacan Mission, found coming back seemed a bit daunting.
“It’s kind of scary, to be honest,” Miller said. “You don’t know how well you’re going to do or how hard it is going to be until you’re in it.”
Miller said what helped him the most was waking up early and scripture study. Keeping on a regular schedule also helped many players ease back into school and the rigorous baseball schedule.
“The mission really helped me to manage my time while I was on my own,” said Adam Law, a second baseman and shortstop who served in Zimbabwe. “My mission helped me to have a focused mentality as well as gain a better perspective on life, not only through what I saw but my experiences while serving there.”
Players found consistency and exercise were key to helping them get back into shape after returning home.
My main goal was to gain back the 20 pounds I lost while in Zimbabwe,” Welch said.
Wes Guenther, a catcher who served in the Chile Concepcion Mission, said that serving his mission has helped him to better prepare for life.
” I think the mission teaches you discipline,” Guenther said. “It has helped me with goal setting and the drive to work through anything.”
One thing the team commented on was the age difference of the Cougars, compared to other teams.
“It’s kind of funny when you’re 23 and you are playing against 18-year-olds , fresh out of high school,” Guenther said.
The baseball team is confident its maturity will be an advantage when it comes time to play.