Alan Moye made it.
I believe with all my heart Sam Schott will make it.
I only met them Friday, but I’d be willing to bet Melissa Gress, Jennifer Gress, Simonne Sanders and Madison Trujillo will make it.
I spent part of a couple of afternoons this week doing one of my favorite things as a sports writer. I attended signing ceremonies for Schott, a Spring Hill High School senior who will play softball at the University of Texas at Tyler, and Sanders, Trujillo and sisters Melissa and Jennifer Gress, who will play softball at Kilgore College.
Will Schott or any of the new KC signees play softball after college? I doubt it.
But check with me about 10 years down the road, and if they didn’t make it, I’ll buy you a steak dinner.
Of course, that all depends on your definition of “making it.”
A few years back, a gentlemen at a local fitness center confronted me and wanted to know why my newspaper “wasted” so much ink and made such a big deal out of East Texas athletes signing college scholarships.
His reasoning was “most of those kids don’t even make it.”
I practiced resistance training that day, meaning I resisted the urge to take the nearest dumbbell and drop it on Mr. Sunshine’s head during his next bench press session.
Evidently, to that gentleman and too many others like him, if an athlete doesn’t eventually play a professional sport, he or she didn’t make it.
I’d like to introduce those people to Alan Moye. Actually, make that Dr. Alan Moye.
After hitting .341 with seven home runs and 20 RBI as a junior at Pine Tree, Moye gave a verbal pledge to play baseball at Baylor University. Then, he went out as a senior, played breathtaking defense in the outfield and hit .396 with seven home runs and 21 RBI.
The Cincinnati Reds thought enough of Moye to use a third-round pick on him in the 2001 Major League Baseball amateur draft. They gave him a $400,000 signing bonus, so Moye passed on school and continued playing baseball.
Not so fast.
Part of Moye’s contract called for the Reds to also set aside a sizable chunk of money toward his college education should things not work out with the baseball thing.
Moye spent the next five seasons playing Minor League Baseball in the Cincinnati and Kansas City organizations, and then put away the cleats and the glove and returned to school.
“The 2005 season was my last affiliated year. I was with the Kansas City organization. I had a good season, but I was just burned out,” Moye said.
Moye enrolled at Baylor in the spring of 2006, but after a year away from the game he signed to play baseball with the Independent League Fort Worth Cats while still keeping up with his classes in Waco.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in 2009, and a year later had his master’s in sports management.
He coached for two seasons at North Shore High School in Houston, later became assistant principal there and is currently the principal at Woodcreek Middle School in Humble.
On Dec. 19, you can officially call him Dr. Moye when he graduates from the Sam Houston State University Educational Leadership Ed.D. Program.
“Have a plan B,” Moye said when I asked him about advice he might give the current crop of athletes. “Follow your passion. Pursue that passion, but passion doesn’t always pay the bills. Make sure you get that education.”
Let me add something.
Don’t listen to society’s definition of “making it.” When you get that education and then put that degree to use in your chosen profession, be proud.
Folks like Mr. Sunshine at the fitness center need to be sent to the principal’s office for an attitude adjustment, and I just happen to know a local kid down in Humble who can handle that job.
I hear he’s pretty handy with a baseball bat.