Don’t count out little guys in sports

Sophomore Taylor Dye keeps low to the ground as he drives to the plate. (Photo by Jackie Lanouette
Sophomore Taylor Dye keeps low to the ground as he drives to the plate. (Photo by Jackie Lanouette)

Cal Lanouette
Sports Columnist

I’ve always been the little guy, on the shorter end standing at a whopping five feet, five inches and 135 pounds these days. Though, it’s never stopped me or held me back from being active in sports.

I was born into a family of athletes who have almost always been short. My father was a swimmer, my mother played a little golf and racquetball, and my grandmother was a cheerleader. All of them stand at or below 5 feet 7 inches.

I can only wish that somewhere in my family there had been someone tall to pass down his or her genes to me. To my misfortune, it seems that I have nearly reached my peak height, and I’ll be stuck with it for the rest of my life.

Though, just because I am short does not mean I will not play sports. Throughout my life I’ve been teased for my size, but I have played nearly every major sport there is. I played tennis (one year), hockey (one year), basketball (three to four years), football (three years), soccer (four to six years), golf (just for fun) and baseball (my entire life).

I was the goalie in both hockey and soccer, and I even played an age up in hockey.

In football, I played tight end my first year and then linebacker the other two years. I was not the norm for any of those positions, but I still found a way to be effective at them.

Basketball, however, was the sport I just couldn’t find a way to be good at. I love to play it, but my size in this case was just too short, and I had to quit. I go to the gym every now and then to air ball a few layups just for fun though.

Now baseball is the sport I’ve played all my life. I started at t-ball; now I’m here. It was where being the little guy was pretty good, but only for certain positions. I play catcher, and I’ve seen the standards for catchers for each division of college baseball (D1, D2, D3), and I don’t qualify for any of them. It’s disheartening to hear, but just like my size, it won’t stop me.

Sophomore Taylor Dye plays baseball for the JV team. “As a pitcher, it has always been hard being short because I don’t have as much leg drive as a taller pitcher might have,” Dye said. “In my mind I think I have learned to deal with it though.”

Many professional players out there have also learned to deal with their size. Jose Altuve, second basemen for the Houston Astros, is just 5 feet 5 inches (the same height as I), and he could be argued as the best player on the team.

Dustin Pedroia, second basemen for the Boston Red Sox, is 5 feet 8 inches and won the American League Rookie of the Year award in 2007. He has also been selected to three straight All-Star games, was named the 2008 AL MVP and received the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Awards in 2008.

Nate Robinson, a basketball player in the NBA, stands at 5 feet 7 inches and has won three Slam Dunk Contests (2006, 2009 and 2010). Robinson also has a 43.5 vertical leap, which is one of the highest in the league.

What you can take away from reading this, is that you should never underestimate the little guy. You can never count somebody out for his or her size, because he or she just may surprise you and prove you wrong.

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