Athlete thanks everyone for his success in baseball, especially the summer league

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 12, 2008

Dear editor,

At the age of 2 my grandfather (the late Arthur Williams Sr.) introduced me to baseball. He taught me how to hit the ball hard across the fence. My target was his cows in the pasture. Granddaddy and I would play every evening until my grandmother (the late Margaret K. Williams) called us in for dinner.

I started playing tee ball at Edgewood School. I played for several teams: Fuller Building Supply, Electronic Service and Cougar Mint Shop.

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I played at the Complex and at Bloch Park with three teams: Henry Brick, FOP and Tabor Construction. I made several all-star teams. My most memorable one was 2001 as a 13-year-old in Guntersville. We were one game away from the World Series. I remember shedding a few tears, but our coach told us to hold our heads up. He was proud of us.

I have traveled to cities in the state because of baseball: such as: Thomasville, Prattville, Clanton, Enterprise, Wetumpka and Guntersville.

This summer marked my last year of eligible to play baseball for the city of Selma due to my age (19). On July 4, 2007,I played my last game as a Selma All-Star in Prattville. This tourney was unbelievable. My coach wrote me a letter of thanks and well wishes for the future.

Baseball teaches you about life. It teaches you how to get along with your teammates. It teaches you to work hard in the batting cage, on the field, how to motivate your teammates, even if you are losing, to just keep trying. Practice makes perfect. Never give up on yourself. I can still hear one of the parent yelling, &8220;That&8217;s okay, that&8217;s all right. We still love you anyway&8221; (if someone would strike out).

Special thanks to all of my coaches, assistant coaches, bench and strength coaches, batting coaches, moms/friends who baked me cookies and had cookouts, stitched my name on towels, pictures, clippings from this newspaper, Selma Recreation Department staff and field crew, umpires, City of Selma, mayor, city council persons, county commissioners, The Selma Times-Journal, principals, teachers, counselors, godparents, grandparents, mom, dad, sister, brother, uncles, aunts, cousins, friends, fans and most of all, my team-mates.

I would like to encourage all parents to allow your son to play baseball or any sport. Also, don&8217;t drop your son off at the game; stay there with him to cheer him on. It&8217;s a good feeling inside of you, when you can look up in the bleachers and see or hear your parents yelling your name or saying, &8220;That&8217;s my baby! I taught him how to hit and/or catch that ball&8221; (My mother&8217;s favorite words). Baseball will prepare you for the future and help to build a responsible and dedicated young man.

This has been the ride of my life playing for the City&8217;s summer league as well as playing for Selma High School.

I am presently playing baseball on an athletic scholarship for Alabama State University.

My first year, I made the starting lineup playing in the position of second base. My major is finance. This past season while playing baseball I made the honor roll with a 3.0 GPA.

Through Christ all things are possible.

John Brandon Solomon

Selma, Ala.