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November 9, 2017

What Marcus Stroman Teaches Us About Individuality

Every so often, something happens in baseball that blurs the line between the game and real life. It forces us to stop, note, and reflect.

One of those moments came about after the emotional game between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Oakland Athletics on July 27, the one that saw three ejections, crazy umpiring, and a walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the 10th inning. This game was full of drama, and I couldn’t help but scroll through Twitter afterwards to take in the many reactions and observations from fans, players, and sportswriters.

Immediately, a headline jumped out at me: “Blue Jays pitcher Marcus Stroman is going to continue being himself on the mound.”

For those of you who missed the game, Stroman, catcher Russell Martin, and Manager John Gibbons were ejected by home plate umpire Will Little due to disagreement over Little’s interpretation of the strike zone.

Stroman’s ejection, though, seems to have been triggered by him talking to himself, which the umpire thought was directed towards him. That is just Marcus Stroman, though – emotional and intense. Love him or hate him, you can’t question that he does everything with passion, and that’s become a signature of his behavior on and off the mound.

After the game, Stroman said, “I’m an emotional guy. I’m going to continue to be myself regardless of who doesn’t like it, who likes it. I’m always going to be myself regardless. I’m emotional, that’s how I pitch. That’s what I pride myself on. That’s what allows me to be my best out there and that’s how it’s going to continue to be, day in and day out. So, if you don’t like it, it’s OK.”

This really resonated with me and shone a light on a lesson that applies as much to life off the field as it does to the game itself.

Being ourselves isn’t always easy. It can mean standing out and opening us up to criticism and judgment. It leaves us vulnerable and exposed. And it can cause a lot of pain when being true to ourselves lands us in an unfortunate position.

But if we aren’t ourselves, we’re not living authentically. We’re burying the gifts that make us most unique and preventing those around us from seeing who we really are.

I found Stroman’s response particularly inspiring because he has many young fans. By saying that it’s not only okay to be yourself but that it can pose a unique advantage, he is encouraging kids and fans to live authentically.

This got me thinking: if Stroman’s uniqueness and attitude can inspire kids and fans, who’s to say that YOU being true to yourself wouldn’t do the same? We all have the power to act as role models to others. Why wouldn’t we take every opportunity to do so?

My challenge for all of us is to take a page from Marcus Stroman’s book and make an effort today, tomorrow, and every day afterwards to be a bit truer to ourselves. To lean in on our individuality and celebrate it. If you ask me, that’s always a winning play.

About the author:

Kate Morantz is a creative entrepreneur and blogger based in Toronto, Canada. After graduating from the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University in 2008, Kate worked in various marketing-and strategy-based roles at large organizations. In parallel, she developed a lifestyle blog as well as a handmade goods shop on the Etsy platform.

In early 2017, she left her corporate job to pursue her entrepreneurial passions full time. Her blog Beyond the Safe Harbor is devoted to helping women boost their impact, master their money, and better themselves so that they can unlock their most meaningful lives. For more from Kate, visit www.beyondthesafeharbor.com.

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