I have enjoyed this revived thread. Perserverance and desire are powerful motivating forces.
My son decided to play baseball when he turned 12, he had never even showed a desire to play catch before that. Surprised the hell out of us. We signed him up for local rec ball, which are NOT the kids who play LL ball, these are the kids who need to be taught the rules. Even within this group my son only got on the field because every kid on the team did. In his second season, his coach ran out of pitchers and put him on the mound. He didn't know what he was doing but he threw strikes, and that started him on the road to be a pitcher. His last coach also started a travel ball group and recruited him. Because his birthday was 10 days past the cutoff day he was able to play U12. 11 days earlier and he would have been done.
All the way through travel ball, he was on the team because he could pitch. Fielding was fine, but hitting just never happened, despite the help of a terrific hitting coach. Demoralizing usually, but he kept at it because he wanted to pitch. He was always a control pitcher with good sink and survived on ground balls.
At every step of the way, he struggled to catch up to his peers. At 15 he hit a growth spurt that is still going. He has doggedly pursued his goal of playing college ball, and the body is making this at least a possibility (6 2 and growing). He played U16 showcase ball this past summer as a PO and here control wasn't quite enough and so he threw himself into an off-season lifting program. His pitching coach is over the moon about his development, physically and especially mentally. He'll be competing for the #2 starter on varsity this year (as a junior). He played JV Fr/So season.
He's been fortunate that his body development is helping his goals, but boy howdy has the road been a mentally challenging one for a quiet introverted kid.
There have been multiple exit points so far, and at every stage he has dug a little deeper and found a way to get to the next level. Who knows where this will end up, but its been driven by his determination to keep fighting/struggling/grinding, all so that he could have a chance to be a late bloomer. He's had a lot of support from his family through all of this. This is important, but the desire comes from him.
He'll be playing with a well known regional U17 team this summer. This organizations teams were so out of his league a few short years ago (they usually didn't even play the same tournaments as us) that it is shocking.
Has he changed over the years? Heck yeah. Has it always been in him? Probably, but without a whole lot of grit, it never would have had a chance to come out. Is he better for having struggled over the years? Who knows, but we've always preached that he should only worry about the things he can control, and hope that effort takes care of the things that he can't.
Just our story...